Letter to the Editor

Hands across the aisle If you’re happy with the results of the recent federal election, there is no need to read on.

Hands across the aisle

If you’re happy with the results of the recent federal election, there is no need to read on. But if you’re not, here are a few ideas that might interest you.

In Canada, for many years we have had three parties, which have had significant influence on our lives.

The Conservatives, or capitalists, who, according to a dictionary definition, believe wealth should be concentrated in the hands of the few; the New Democrats, or socialists, who believe the means of production and distribution should be owned, managed or controlled by the government, and the Liberals, who, also according to the dictionary, believe in progress and reform.

I’m not sure if these definitions still reflect the beliefs of the parties. If they do not, then we need to revisit such definitions. Now we have a new player, the Green Party, which has not even made it to the dictionary, but which we all believe is mainly focused on the environment.

Because we have this mix of interests and beliefs, it would appear that for the foreseeable future, Canada will be ruled by a minority government. If you are happy with this, that’s OK.

But if you would prefer a majority party to run the country, here are a few ideas on how to make that happen.

It is my belief that neither Jack Layton nor Elizabeth May will ever become prime minister unless they merge their parties.

Look at the numbers and percentage of popular votes. With a merger, the Greens would have had  representation in Parliament and the NDP would be a serious contender for opposition or even the ruling party.

How about the New Democratic Green Party or the Democratic Green Party?

Goodness knows the NDP needs something really new in their platform.

If this doesn’t appeal to the NDP, how about the Liberal Democratic Party as a speedy way to power for the Liberals and the NDP.

As for the Yukon, a merger of the Greens and the NDP could pose a serious threat to the status quo in the next territorial election.

A little greening of the NDP may lead to new growth, and support from the grassroots could help things to green up.

Without some co-operation you will continue to split the vote and condemn yourselves to the opposition benches forever.

You have four years to make it work.

The Conservatives reinvented themselves; now it’s your turn.

Dave Stockdale

Whitehorse

Fentie fails Watson

Lake in many ways

Open letter to Premier Dennis Fentie:

For centuries, our forefathers have fought and died to preserve our basic rights and freedoms. This includes our inherent right to freedom of speech and expression.

In this context I am reminded that each and every Yukon citizen, regardless of race, creed or colour, must at all times have an expectation of honest and fair treatment from elected or appointed authorities.

Fentie, it’s unfortunate that Yukon citizens are often reluctant to publicly express their opinions about government dictates or actions. This is usually a product of utter frustration, but more often it’s from fear of future intimidation or retribution.

There can no longer be any doubt, whatsoever, that in place of respect, an increasing number of Yukon citizens actually fear the actions of officials at all levels of government.

Indeed, sir, there is a growing perception that our servants have now become our masters, and there are very few servants left!

And I am also reminded that governments with nothing to hide should have nothing to fear from those they govern!

Fentie, with declining educational standards, a shameful lack of social services, a grossly overloaded sewer system, an insufficient water supply, widespread alcohol and drug use, soaring food and fuel prices and many more issues, there can be no doubt that Watson Lake is in dire straits, and ways must be found to resolve these matters.

Standards of education have been degraded to an alarmingly low level, and residents want to know why, and if this is prevalent all over Yukon or just in Watson Lake?

Store clerks tell us that many children in Grades 8 to 10 can’t even count change when making purchases. How they’ve reached these grades without attaining even such a basic knowledge is disgraceful.

The situation is so bad that parents have been leaving our community to seek better educational opportunities for their children elsewhere, and this remains a major deterrent to new families wishing to move into Watson Lake.

It has also been noted that our schools are not even displaying our symbol of national pride, the Maple Leaf.

Sir, your government is obligated to restore our standards of education back up to national levels forthwith!

Fentie, to provide much needed services respecting child protection, elder abuse and so forth, there are three social workers in Dawson but none in Watson Lake.

With only one overworked secretary for this large region, we are in desperate need of at least three full- time social workers here.

The excuse that these are hard to find is simply not acceptable.

Why not determine if qualified personnel might be found right here in our community and, if so, recruit them immediately?

You continually remind us about the millions of dollars government is spending in this area, but you are not telling us how many of those dollars have been wasted!

Those funds could have provided Watson Lake with social workers and a full-time drug councillor, badly needed to work with victims of widespread area drug and alcohol abuse, particularly with the unsuspecting young.

Fentie, we certainly have many problems at the municipal level, but these are now being addressed and, over time, they will be resolved.

But every time it rains, our lift station overflows with raw sewage and our water supply is insufficient for adequate fire protection, a situation that has existed for far too long.

In an effort to resolve this serious problem, our town council made application to the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund for $4.328 million, of which $1.354 million was specifically designated for a new reservoir.

However, this application was denied just last month. So we still require an infusion of several millions of dollars to upgrade, install and expand our existing sewer and water facilities.

Our new Official Development Plan needs immediate amendment to provide for future commercial and residential expansion.

To stimulate free enterprise, and encourage business competition, there must be provision for a main- street-styled commercial area complete with sidewalks, angle parking, alleys and side streets to allow for new shops, stores, hotels, and small enterprises.

This will ultimately require additional funds for planning, development and provision of municipal services.

And Fentie, I must point out that regardless of how many health cards have been issued for this region, we presently only have a declining population of just over 800 people, so we simply don’t have a sufficient tax base to support all our projected needs.

Accordingly, for the foreseeable future, we must continue to depend on government for substantial financial aid and assistance.

Residents of Upper Liard have expressed their appreciation for government assistance during the flood of last spring.

In anticipation of next year’s high water, they ask that you construct a suitable ditch from the RV park to the river, and also undertake installation of a functional gated culvert under the Alaska Highway.

In closing, Fentie, I must remind you that I have now spent over two thirds of my lifetime representing the interests and concerns of Watson Lake residents.

I had the honour to represent this area for 24 years as a very dedicated and hardworking MLA. And please know that I will continue to do so to the best of my ability for as long as my services are required!

During my last 11 years in office, I also had the distinct honour to serve the people of Yukon as Speaker.

In that capacity it was my duty and responsibility to ensure that the business of all Yukon citizens was conducted with honesty, fairness and integrity.

Unfortunately, I have been hearing disturbing comments suggesting there are presumptions of indifference, self- importance and patronage at all levels of government.

Hopefully this is not the case, and that you would wish to dispel this perception at the earliest possible moment.

Don Taylor

Watson Lake