I have always read with interest Keith Halliday’s column Yukonomist. Reading his latest, Bond Villain Lair, Whitehorse-StyIe (News, Nov. 14) was sure that he had become a humorist in addition to an economist.
Surely he was putting us on. Nearly $830,000 spent by the Harper government to build a bunker office in Whitehorse for visiting federal ministers? Impossible. $304,000 a year operating costs at the Hougen centre? Now that was just crazy.
Wasn’t the local Revenue Canada office closing? What about the dredge in Dawson left to sink in the sand, the SS Klondike guideless, social housing needs unmet, need for more federal funding for health care and an MRI machine for the hospital?
The federal minister of health gets an office and staff and we get to do fundraisers for essential services.
Surely yet another federal presence, with staff, was not necessary in the Yukon. As Mr. Halliday mentioned, we do have a senator and a member of Parliament. Apparently the message is that they cannot be trusted with federal affairs and yet another office with more staff is required. Curious, when the Harper government does not have faith in its own Conservative members.
It is an interesting deficit-cutting strategy. I look forward to this being featured on those interminable Action Canada ads touting how the Harper government is putting people to work.
But there are more serious considerations. I guess I should be terribly, terribly afraid because clearly the Harper government knows more about the terrible risks to life and limb in this territory than most of the residents. Did I miss the memo that a terrorist attack is imminent? Should I go back to those old reminders to duck and cover? Should I consider a bomb shelter?
Or, when disaster strikes, will the minister’s new staff, Ted Staffen, let us into the bunker?
After all, it is our tax dollars at work.