When I was first elected Mayor of Whitehorse almost five years ago I had a romantic understanding of what the role would entail. I assumed that I would be in a position to listen to what was important to the public at large; and armed with this knowledge I would build partnerships and work hard to make those desires a reality.
I knew I would be expected to act on behalf of the majority rather than particular groups, independent of my personal desires. I knew I would work with a team of elected officials and highly skilled staff. I understood that the decisions and policies I helped form and pass would not always be popular. I happily accepted this privilege and have enjoyed it a great deal, but the position has also offered me something I did not anticipate.
Suddenly, I had a vantage point most citizens do not. I have been and am privileged to witness an amazing array of accomplishments in our culturally rich and diverse city. Of course I also see the challenges, concerns and tragedies. This past year has been one of the most difficult I have ever witnessed. It has brought with it pain and suffering to families, friends and co-workers. There have been so many deaths and senseless violence. My heart goes out to all the members of our Yukon community dealing with the profound loss of their loved ones.
Like so many Yukoners I stand shocked and confounded in the face of this horrific year. What to do? How to help? While we will all be proceeding with many steps, small and large, to help ourselves heal and move forward, one step I do not want to forget is to say “Thank you.”
To all our first responders and helpers but in particular to our RCMP. We are so blessed to have such dedicated women and men daily putting their lives on the line to protect us. Right now, above even this, are the incredible hours these RCMP officers are putting in to deal with these horrific tragedies. There are members that have hardly seen their families for weeks and months trying to ensure these cases get the attention they deserve. Upon so many occasions my heart has almost burst with pride when I’ve witnessed members of our RCMP detachment perform their duties, quietly, humbly, heroically and often with great sacrifice to their own families. Frankly, there are no words to thank them enough.
Over the coming weeks while we as a community continue to struggle with the aftermath of the deaths in our territory I ask that you take every opportunity to thank an RCMP member for everything they do. These men and women face situations on a daily bases that few could cope with. Shake a hand, buy a coffee, give a hug, a wave or a smile. They deserve our thanks, our admiration and our support.