Letter to the Editor

Yukon’s rigourmortification Re Wolf bag-limit more than doubles (the News, August 13): Requesting an amendment to the Wildlife Act seems…



Re Wolf bag-limit more than doubles (the News, August 13):

Requesting an amendment to the Wildlife Act seems akin to writing a letter to Santa Claus — it doesn’t hurt to ask, and you never know, if you are in good favour with the Man, you may get what you want.

You don’t even have to justify your request. Just ask nicely, and if there are plenty of whatever-it-is-you’re-asking-for in the warehouse, your wish will be granted.

Take the example of the increased bag limit on wolves.

This increase was proposed by both the Teslin and Alsek renewable resource councils, and judging by the public consultation booklet on the proposed Wildlife Act revisions, neither renewable resource council provided any scientific rationale for its request.

At the public consultation meeting last winter, spokespeople for the two renewable resource councils said they wanted to increase the bag limit simply because the wolves exist — as if it’s a real shame to have animals there to shoot at, and not to be able to shoot them.

They didn’t seem prepared to justify their proposals, and no wonder, given that the proposals were being assessed by a panel of hunters.

As Graham van Tighem (the Fish and Wildlife Management Board’s executive director) put it at the public meeting, “We’re all hunters here.”

In the Yukon, it seems the foxes have been asked to guard the hen house.

Now the Alsek Renewable Resources Council has released a statement that Champagne/Aishihik’s caribou and moose recovery program would benefit from an expanded wolf hunt (the News, August 13).

Have they not considered that the decline in caribou and moose is likely due to human activity (i.e. overhunting) and not an over-abundant wolf population?

How can we justify saving a moose from a wolf today, just so a hunter can kill the moose tomorrow? This is a self-serving and ultimately ecocidal approach to wildlife management.

Despite the flimsy argument in favour of expanding the wolf hunt, the bag limit has now been raised from three to seven wolves.

If we followed modern standards in wildlife management, a scientific evidence base would be required before any such changes were made.

I’m appalled at the lack of rigour that is applied to evaluating these “wish-list” types of proposals.

Rachel Westfall


Gobbledygook hurts

energy consumers

In July the Utilities Consumers’ Group warned consumers that a recent Yukon Utilities Board ruling on holding Yukon Electrical and Yukon Energy accountable to prior board recommendations was weak and would have an effect on future decisions by this same board.

The apprehension has now proven true.

If you look at your August electrical bills, you will notice a so-called interim refundable rider for a Yukon Electrical Co. Ltd. proposed increase of five per cent.

Such interim increases are theoretically put in place on a refundable basis in case the corporations cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they need this increase in whole or in part.

In reality this refund never comes back to the customer.

The board will waffle as always and say that this money cannot be returned to the customer, as there are intergenerational gaps, i.e. a customer may pay into and then move away or a new customer may come online and never have paid into it.

So, they will put this money into a separate account, which the companies will simply usurp in the future.

This regulator has a record for decisions regarding electrical companies’ over earnings, giving them more profits for their shareholders.

This money is never refunded back to the consumer because it is what these folks in the corporate world like to call retroactive rate-making, which is not allowable under their terms.

But if the companies want to get more money in advance of providing evidence of need, as in this interim refundable gobbledygook, this is allowable.

If the electrical companies believed they needed more revenues for 2007, then they should have been held responsible to file for this increase before the test year to be investigated commenced, not halfway through the year.

This is what the board told the companies to do last October. Now this same board has given Yukon Electrical the go ahead to collect an interim five per cent on all bills in advance of proving they need this extra revenue.

Who would have guessed it?

Roger Rondeau, president, Utilities Consumers’ Group, Whitehorse

Harper Conservatives claim a credit they don’t deserve

We received some junk mail in which the Harper propaganda group would attempt to have us believe that the present government had something to do with Allied success in the Second World War.

Harper wasn’t even born and it was the Progressive Conservatives as well as Liberals that were in power, not the Harper government.

Harper’s alliance group swallowed up the old Progressive Conservatives and many have not forgiven him for that.

We have already seen what Harper does with elected members who speak out against his party, so why even elect a Conservative if it’s Harper’s way or the highway?

If the Harper government wants to tie itself to the former Progressive Conservative governments then he should remember that it was at the time of the Pearson Liberal government when Canada developed the CF 105, the fastest fighter bomber in the world that would have made the Canadian aircraft industry, as well as Canadian workers, millions of dollars.

It was the Diefenbaker Progressive Conservatives that scrapped it along with all tools, radio equipment etc., and that was almost immediately after Diefenbaker was sworn in.

As the CF-105 was thrown out, so were thousands of jobs for Canadians.

The Conservatives boast their leadership in the junk-mail form, but that’s a questionable medium environmentally.

Look at the deformed fish found in the waters below the oilsands near the Chipewyan First Nation community.

Also consider the alarming amount of cancers found in that community that is getting polluted by the oilsands that Harper’s pals are allowing to expand without curtailing pollution of the air, water and forest.

The propaganda junk mail didn’t mention that Kyoto plans were just about scrapped when Harper took over, and his record on the environment is dismal and not trustworthy, to say the least.

The propaganda material did not mention the cities in the USA that will not use products from the polluting tar sands.

Credit has to be given to the Chipewyan First Nation, which is presently taking the Harper group to task on the tarsands pollution.

That is going on the world stage.

He even mentions the First World War’s Vimy Ridge in his propaganda, to credit himself with false glory.

My mother’s brother and my father’s twin brothers are buried there and I say shame on Harper for attempting to say the victory at Vimy Ridge is to the credit of the Conservatives.

Maybe he would like to see a picture of their tombstones?

Murray Martin


MLA speaks for us all

I write from Beijing, China, where I’ve been fortunate and privileged to support our Yukon athletes Jeane Lassen and Zach Bell at the 2008 Olympic Games.

It is truly amazing, in consideration of our territory’s relatively small population, to realize that Jeane and Zach were representing Canada in competing among the world’s best athletes.

They both placed within the top 10 in their respective disciplines of weightlifting and cycling.

These are extraordinary achievements on the world stage. It demonstrates how their passion, years of hard work and dedication to their sports have resulted in these remarkable performances.

Congratulations, Jeane and Zach! You have made us and all Canadians proud!

Gary McRobb, MLA Kluane, Haines Junction

Let’s make the city safer

On June 22, the body of Evangeline Billy, 24 years old, was found on the banks of the Yukon River.

I am certain that hearing this news has all of you thinking about your own safety. This is not the first time such an incident has occurred on the banks of the Yukon River.

As this tragedy has occurred in such a public space, no one can remain untouched by this news. It is therefore important to act on this issue, to ensure the safety of such areas in our city.

There remains much to do in order to keep the women of Whitehorse safe. For example, there are many dark zones, especially along the banks of the Yukon River, due to the absence of adequate street lamps.

There are also very few public payphones and not a single emergency phone line for citizens in the area.

Ideally Whitehorse would have a municipal security patrol to regularly patrol key parks and dangerous areas of the city.

Furthermore, bus service in Whitehorse is infrequent and sporadic, leaving many without a safe means of transport in the evenings.

The bus service that is available should be expanded upon and should offer a “between two stops” late-night service for women.

This service would allow women, after a certain hour, to get off the bus at a point closer to their destination.

These are all possible preventative solutions to create a safer city.

 As simple as they may seem, it is up to us to make sure these strategies reach the ears of our municipal and territorial representatives.

I therefore invite you to make a difference today. Without waiting for more tragedies to occur, write a short e-mail or leave a telephone message for the mayor or for another community representative who can act in your interest.

Let’s act to make Whitehorse a safer community for all of us.

Julie Ménard, co-ordinator of Les EssentiElles, Whitehorse

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