Open letter to David Laxton, speaker of the house:
Did I really hear the CBC radio news correctly this morning, Mr. Laxton? Did you really send a letter home to the parents of young people, chastising them for practicing their right to protest their government? Unbelievable!
Should I really have to tell you that what sets us apart from so much of the rest of the world, what gives us our uniqueness that so many strive for, is exactly that very right? I would take it further. When a government begins to act in an undemocratic and dictatorial manner, then civil disobedience becomes an acceptable tool of responsible people.
Would you not consider the fact that your very own Yukon Party government knowingly withheld their true intent for the Peel watershed in order to get elected, and are now trying to create a mythology about their post-election campaigning more worthy of chastisement? I consider far more objectionable your party’s dictatorial removal of the right of a First Nation people’s veto power over development on their traditional lands than a student protest.
Yet on these important matters, which blatantly reflect a lack of democratic process, you remain silent. Instead, you choose to berate young people for their attempts at becoming involved, of affecting change, of their budding interest in political ways. No wonder the youth vote is a mere 37 per cent.
To the young people who took part in the demonstration, I congratulate you. The right of protest is inherent in the democratic system. Please, never let a government intimidate you into reticence. The consequences are too great.
It is your world that will inherit the results of this government that wishes to squander every last dollar out of the environment that they possibly can without a thought of what they leave to you. I encourage you to educate yourselves even further on all issues, keep involved, and continue to speak out! You give an old dude hope for the future.
In conclusion, Mr. Laxton, I have to ask, did I also hear you say you fought in a war to oppose the type of actions practised by the young people mentioned above? I am sincerely and eternally grateful to all our veterans for what you selflessly did. Never a day goes by that I don’t realize our incredible good fortune to live in such a free society, where we can do exactly what those young people from F.H. Collins did. The way you have chosen to deal with this matter, I would have thought, was left in the rubble of the Berlin wall.
Mr. Laxton, I speak from personal experience when I say we all sometimes make mistakes. It is honourable and brave to apologize when we do.