Letter to the Editor

Out in the Cold Musher Frank Turner was talking about his appearance in one episode of the new series Out in the Cold.

Out in the Cold

Musher Frank Turner was talking about his appearance in one episode of the new series Out in the Cold.

He was appearing partly in order to get rid of ‘negative concepts’ some members of the public hold towards dog mushing.

In the interview, Turner compared the days of Jack London to the way sled dogs (‘athletes’) are treated now — he said the views “don’t reflect the current reality.”

How stupid do you think some of us members of the public are?

Here are some of the reasons why some people don’t have much respect for dog mushers, especially Yukon Quest mushers.

Remember that just before the 2007 Yukon Quest, Turner raised the issue of competitors (not himself though) culling sled dogs as part of the process of developing competitive teams.

Remember that three dogs were killed in the 2007 Quest and a whole bunch more were injured or run past the point of exhaustion.

Have any other Quest dogs died (been killed) after the race? Or is this also a secret?

In September there was a story about Turner in the Yukon News that reported he owned 120 dogs and was breeding more.

Then I look at the Out in the Cold website (and Turner’s own website) and see that Turner chains his dogs ‘out in the cold.’ Remember that I worked in Turner’s dog yard/gulag years ago (you can’t change this animal-rights activist).

Also, in February, the Yukon News reported that Turner “fought back tears” because of the suffering his dogs endured on the hard-packed Quest trail (it was like “running on pavement” for them).

Now Turner is again planning to expose his dogs to the same punishment in the 2008 Quest?

I was not surprised to see Turner’s good friends at the Yukon government pumping some of my hard-earned tax dollars into this dog mushing propaganda show. (Will the Yukon tourist economy fall apart without the labours of sled dogs?)

Turner, the Discovery Channel (and show producer Tookie Mercredi), and Yukon Tourism can fool some people, but you sure as hell do not fool me.


Mike Grieco


The whining granola

gang strikes again!

I have been following the Wind River road project in the media for the last two weeks.

The “pristine wilderness” of the Eagle River Valley has not been mentioned. A very similar winter road to Old Crow has been built without fanfare or comment several times over the past few years.

I am sure the outfitters and tourism operators use this area as well. I don’t hear them whining over it.

Some media outlets appear to be lapdogs of the Yukon Conservation Society or Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

I would like to see equal space given to positions taken by mining stakeholders, industry experts and Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to obtain some objective balance.

Perhaps reporters could do their jobs rather than take orders from the granola gang.

Neil Johnson


Grateful granola

gang member

I wanted to extend a big thanks for the excellent coverage on the Wind River road project!

Friday was a very snappy paper and I like to see there was even coverage in Monday’s paper.

I feel it is very important to keep this issue alive and in the public eye at least until the 22nd.

You rock!

Theresa Gulliver


Tax grabs and service

fees hurt seniors

It is with some trepidation that I open the newspapers these days.

My concern is the way that our elected representatives of city council seem to consider that yearly tax increases are for the benefit of all residents and that we are secure in our work positions with annual pay increases from three to more than 12 per cent.

However, there seems to be no realization that a significant percentage of the Whitehorse tax base is borne by pensioners who, it should be noted, will receive a truly magnificent increase of 1.8 per cent on their pensions in 2008!

As you will realize, this “increase” is below the cost of living and yet this lowly amount does not seem to rattle the minds of our elected few as they discuss how to raise more and more money to pay for the running of our fair city.

Indeed, we read about another tax grab as the city plans to add user pay for our water consumption. Don’t we already pay for this service?

The cost for this item is estimated at $3 million. By coincidence, we are also told our magnificent Canada Games Centre will show a deficit of $3 million within a couple years.

Suggestions? Don’t install water meters; pay off debt.”

And/or give some consideration to reducing the size of the city’s bureaucracy, as its increase would suggest that our population has greatly increased over the past few years. It hasn’t.

As one drives about our city in the summer, one is struck by the green lawns, trees and gardens. A lot of these houses are owned by or occupied by pensioners who not only take pride in the appearance of their abode, but are, by their work, aiding to reduce greenhouse gases.

Green areas “soak up” a vast array of pollutants. Surely this is a good thing.

I am not suggesting that pensioners become an elite, lower-taxed group, but that council use some degree of realism and knowledge of the various financial groups occupying the city when it sits down to the ongoing budget debate.

Max Rispin, vice-president Association of Public Service Alliance Retirees, Whitehorse.

Thankful soup kitchen

In the course of acknowledging another generous cash donation from Local YO10 of the Yukon Employees’ Union, PSAC, it occurred to some of us volunteers that this would be a good opportunity to acknowledge further the many individuals and groups, seen and unseen, known and anonymous, who help make this endeavour work.

Well into its second decade of operation out of the basement of the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Cathedral in downtown Whitehorse, the weekend soup kitchen serves to augment the service carried out so faithfully by the Salvation Army by providing a hot meal on the days when it doesn’t, namely the weekend.

Various church, community and school groups take turns serving hot meals Saturday and Sunday. These are the visible volunteers. But there are many, many other contributors. Some quietly make soup to stockpile in the freezer, while others bring baking or fruit.

Some employee groups in town collect money and leave a cheque to cover the considerable expenses of running the kitchen year in and year out.

It would be tricky to try to name the local bakeries, grocery stores, retailers and distributors who regularly donate prepared food or ingredients, and not leave someone out.

A local teacher even put on a Food Safe program for volunteers!

It is truly inspiring to witness the unflagging generosity of Yukoners. Hats off to you all!

Helena Shawn, on behalf of soup kitchen volunteers, Whitehorse