Columnist bids the News farewell, for now

I can hardly believe it's been 12 years since I joined the pages of the Yukon News. I was the Whitehorse Library writer-in-residence at the time, a wonderful program run by the intrepid Mairi MacRae.

I can hardly believe it’s been 12 years since I joined the pages of the Yukon News. I was the Whitehorse Library writer-in-residence at the time, a wonderful program run by the intrepid Mairi MacRae.

An admirer of this independent newspaper’s breadth of coverage, both local and international, and its courage in tackling tough issues, I was thrilled upon being invited by then-editor Peter Lesniak to write a no-strings-attached column. Those kinds of invitations are rare in today’s branch-plant newspapers, and 1,000-word-columns no longer exist elsewhere, but that’s the kind of courage the News had and continues to have under editor Richard Mostyn, who’s not afraid of unpopular political positions on his editorial pages.

For a local newspaper the News has retained an impressive range of columnists, social and political, and certainly tolerated some controversial columns of mine, though after several years, I finally had to slow down to a monthly column.

But the media is changing faster than a ground squirrel crossing the Alaska Highway. And media that don’t react to these changes end up looking like those ground squirrels with bad timing.

The Yukon News is making changes to keep up with the times, and I am one of those changes. Recently, I’ve become worried about growing stale. And no wonder, considering the hundreds of columns I’ve written. Yet I know I’ll miss the paper. And I’ll miss occasionally sharing a page with the feisty Al Pope as he holds Yukoners’ feet to the coals.

I want to thank publisher Steve Robertson for his courageous, open, and independent newspaper – one of the last of its kind in Canada. Thanks also to editor, Richard Mostyn, of course, for celebrating the local while embracing the news of the world; my good friend Erling Friis-Baastad; Pat Shearer for her sense of humour; and Genesee and the other staff.

Most of all, I want to thank my fans who’ve written me some wonderful letters over the years, and all Yukoners for tolerating my wacky moments. As for my enemies, don’t worry, I’ll be back. The Yukon News has generously offered me the opportunity to write special reports when I encounter hot issues, and have more time, and have recovered from these 12, delightful years.

Thank you all.

Brian Brett, poet, journalist and novelist, lives on Salt Spring Island and returns to the Yukon whenever he can. His new book, Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life, has just been released by Greystone Books.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read