Open letter to Dennis Fentie,
Several weeks have passed since the majority of Yukon homes and businesses suddenly lost their electrical service for an extended period of time on a bitterly cold day.
A number of people have expressed serious concerns to me about how this emergency situation was handled, especially the lack of information about what was going on and how people could get help if they needed it.
Many of them share my disappointment that there has still been no public comment of any kind from you or any of your cabinet ministers.
During the ice storm of 1998, then-Premier Lucian Bouchard immediately took personal responsibility for keeping the people of Quebec fully informed.
Surely, Yukon people deserve the same kind of leadership from their elected officials.
A spokesperson for the territory’s Emergency Measures Organization has said there will be an evaluation of January 29th’s events, including what aspects of the emergency response could have been handled better.
An evaluation is certainly warranted, but an internal process is not enough. A similar evaluation of the emergency response to the airplane highjacking scare on September 11, 2001 left many questions unanswered in the minds of Whitehorse residents.
There needs to be a way for people who were directly affected by the recent power outage to voice their concerns and put forward constructive suggestions about how future situations could be handled better.
It is particularly important to hear directly from seniors, people with visual or mobility limitations, people with special medical needs, and single parents of small children, about how the blackout affected them.
On behalf of concerned constituents in my riding and elsewhere, I ask for your assurance that an opportunity for public input will be included in the evaluation of January 29th’s events.
I would also like your assurance that the results of the evaluation will be made public in full.
Finally, I would like to thank all the public-sector and private-sector workers who put in many long hours to deal with this mid-winter emergency.
Todd Hardy, MLA Whitehorse Centre
Revisiting Shallow Bay
Re Peter Harms letter Bay Watch The News, February 8:
For the record, CPAWS did not designate the Shallow Bay wetlands as globally significant.
That was the determination of Bird Studies Canada, a partner in the Important Bird Areas program of BirdLife International.
The Yukon government has also identified these wetlands as territorially significant.
By not properly considering these assessments, nor thoughtfully weighing the interests of the Ta’an Kwach’an Council and expert advice from the Laberge Renewable Resources Council, the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Yukon department of Environment, minister Archie Lang’s department of Energy, Mines & Resources created the problem.
Working with all interests, the minister and Premier Dennis Fentie can also fix it.
While Yukoners may indeed seem to be scrambling after many apparently identical basketballs, even the Yukon government knows the Shallow Bay wetlands are not just any old ball court.
I trust that most Grade 7 students could figure that out without too much trouble.
Mac Hislop, CPAWS-Yukon
Open Letter to Todd Hardy
I am writing to suggest that, as chair of the Public Accounts Committee, you consider holding hearings on the latest findings of the Gomery Commission.
While initially set up to look into specific concerns resulting from the federal sponsorship program, the final report of the Commission makes several recommendations to make government more accountable to the people it serves.
I believe there is merit in looking at some of those recommendations in the Yukon context. For example, the report touches on whistleblower legislation, access to information and appointments to Crown corporations, all issues that have been in the public eye in the Yukon for the wrong reasons.
I am interested in meeting with you to discuss this further and I thank you for your attention to this matter.
Arthur Mitchell, Copperbelt MLA
Superstore and Terry
I wanted to share the story of my fellow employee at Superstore.
Terry Gallinger has cerebral palsy, is in a wheelchair and has the use of only one hand.
He is 19 years old, and the second in his family of eight children to graduate from Grade 12.
His mother, who is a single parent, moved to Whitehorse in October 2005 to work full time at Subway.
Terry got a job at Superstore on his own only one week after arriving here in town, and has been working there ever since.
Terry works from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. five days a week, cleaning the tills and the area around the tills.
Because he has difficulty dressing and his shift is so early, he has to sleep in his wheel chair on work nights.
Despite his difficulties in life, Terry has a great sense of humour. He calls himself the ‘Living Daredevil.’
One day upon my arrival at work he told me about something that happened to him in BC. A lady on a scooter going the same direction along a narrow road forced him onto the soft shoulder and he ended up going ‘head over wheels’ down a two-metre embankment.
I have no idea how he got back up, but that’s just another day in the life for Terry!
I’m impressed by Terry, and I’m also impressed by Superstore for hiring people who have the kind of challenges he has.
It’s inspiring to come to work will a guy like Terry, and it’s inspiring to work for a business that sees his value.