I feel obligated to respond to Joe McIntyre’s letter (Mining country: love it or leave it, the News, Jan. 18).
I am not writing these lines to defend Mr. Sebastian Jones, since I don’t know him personally, even though I support his views about the Peel watershed. The main reason for my letter is to point out the arrogance and somewhat mentally-challenged notion of referring to mainly one point in Yukon’s history, namely mining.
If you, Mr. McIntyre, would have a lot of respect for native people, as you say in your letter, you would understand the phrase “Indian country, love it or leave it.” But you, like others of your kind, conveniently leave out the biggest and longest-lasting part of human history in the Yukon, which was and still remains the existence of native cultures all over the Yukon before any mining and exploration ever took place.
But that doesn’t fit in your picture of arrogant neocolonialist thinking. Consequently, if you don’t respect Indian country and their view on the Peel watershed, you may leave their traditional territory at once.
I am sure there are a few First Nation and non-First Nation people in Dawson City who would love to help you pack.
You are right about one thing, Mr. McIntyre: if there were no mining and exploration in the Yukon, there would not be a need for a conservation society. I suspect that could be true, because it was exactly these industries, their destructive behaviour, and the “rape and pillage” scenarios that they left behind, that prompted the Yukon Conservation Society to exist in order to fight for real balance on the land base. I hope they succeed. I am a proud member of the Yukon Conservation Society.
Your simplistic view on why we need more mining in the Yukon in order to meet basic needs leaves out many facts. It is mostly done for speculation and export. Most of our resources are, and certainly will be, exported and that has nothing to do with our own need for them right here in Canada. I suspect that you and your Yukon Party friends take real pride in fuelling the Chinese industrial machine.
And your last points, concerning the lack of devastation from mining, tells me a lot about your ability to get the facts straight. One just has to look at Faro’s mine legacy and the amount of taxpayer money it will take to clean that up. There are countless examples of devastation like this all across Canada.
Mining, at this point, is a highly subsidized industry, and the verdict is still out as to whether it actually brings in net profits for the communities and Canada, if we do not clearly define a regulatory regime and reclamation package to deal with the problems. Land-use planning is definitely a tool for that purpose.