Letter to the Editor

Bad news for youth centre Open letter to Victoria Durrant, executive director Youth of Today Society: Thank you for your letter of September 4,…

Bad news for youth centre

Open letter to Victoria Durrant, executive director Youth of Today Society:

Thank you for your letter of September 4, 2008.

As a member of a frontline agency your work is highly appreciated and valued.

However, in the case of your three-year, $1.4-million proposal involving a shelter for young adults, the presentation of a fully developed business plan and other information requirements have not been met.

Absent from your proposal is a needs analysis, a detailed budget outlining reasons why your proposal is considerably more expensive than existing shelter options, and evidence that the programming you are proposing will be delivered by credentialed staff.

Also, there is no written confirmation from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation that they intend to provide capital funding for your project.

Based on the information that has been provided, the Yukon government cannot justify investing in your proposal.

In closing, I would encourage you to direct youth at risk to the many programs currently in place to address their needs, including the Skookum Jim’s Outreach Shelter and Support Program, Many Rivers Youth Outreach Workers, counselling offered by Drug and Alcohol Services, Bringing Youth Towards Equality, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, as well as the Journey Far Carving Program.

For young adults, I would refer you to the existing shelter operated by the Salvation Army, counselling from Drug and Alcohol Services, employment and education programs offered by Advanced Education as well as the many services offered to social assistance recipients, including employment and counselling services offered through adult services, where there are staff members who exclusively assist adults aged 18 to 24.

We look forward to working with the Youth of Today Society on future projects involving Yukon youth.

Glenn Hart, Minister of Health and Social Services

Foresees election legal mess

The current version of the Canada Elections Act requires that the next general election be held on the third Monday of October next year.

That’s a “must be” not a “may be.”

Contrary to popular rumours, there is no exception to be made in the case of a minority government.

The prime minister does not have the authority to circumvent or override the law.

Plenty of people know this. Why are they acting as if they have no alternative but to give in and go along with the unlawful demand?

This could get messy.

If the election goes ahead next month, instead of in the year required by law, it might result in a court challenge and could be struck down.

The prime minister quit his job for no good reason. He certainly should not be able to claim employment insurance. But all the other members of Parliament ought to see if they might sue him for wrongful dismissal.

Stewart Jamieson

Whitehorse

A stupid wolf policy

Open letter to the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board, the Alsek RRC and the Environment department: 

I found the article by Tristan Hopper, Wolf bag-limit more than doubles (the News, August 13), to be quite enlightening.

It provided information that more than one person had attempted to obtain from the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board regarding the proposal for increased wolf kill that was brought forward by the Alsek Renewable Resources Council back in the early winter of 2007.

The management board’s booklet outlining this proposal as one for revision to the Yukon Wildlife Act stated the goal was to “enhance wolf hunting opportunities.”

In several letters sent to the newspapers after the public consultation meeting took place (December 7, 2007) it was suggested the rationale behind this proposal was to decrease the wolf population to increase the ungulate populations for hunting and outfitting ventures.

When I posed this question to the executive director of the management board at a later date I was told, “No, this was not the rationale behind the proposal.”

Enhancement of wolf hunting opportunities, as outlined in the booklet, was the reason the proposal was presented to the board.

When I asked for information regarding the scientific research and studies that I just assumed would have taken place before such drastic measures were considered, I was told the public was not privy to this information and that the board made its recommendations working within the guidelines of the Umbrella Final Agreement.

The board presented its recommendation to the Yukon government that the wolf bag- limit be increased from three to seven and Environment approved this recommendation.

After the fact, the public was told, as indicated in the news article, the reason for increasing the wolf kill in this zone is to increase ungulate populations for hunting opportunities.

I find it disturbing that, as members of this community and taxpayers, we were not provided with this information regarding the primary rationale behind the proposal when several of us initially requested it.

So much for transparency.

I am also befuddled by the information I read in the same article stating “wolf hunters” are said to struggle in their attempts to kill three wolves, which was the original bag limit prior to the increase to seven.

If so, why was the limit increased?

“The majority of people aren’t into hunting wolves,” said Gord Zealand, executive director of the Yukon Fish and Game Association, in the article.

 I wonder if perhaps a contributing factor for this is that a new ethic is evolving in our society — one that focuses on co-existence and respect for the other species we share the land and resources with.

An ethic that isn’t rooted in exploitation and greed, but rather a recognition that, with a drastically changing environment, detrimental to and impacting all species we must eliminate the concept of “wildlife management,” which to date in the majority of cases has not been successful — one only needs to look at the extremely low salmon run this year as an example of lousy leadership, poor decision making and the impacts of human behaviour and greed.

The wolves hunt today as they did thousands of years ago. It is a known fact that the wolves’ co-existence with ungulate populations has kept both species healthy which in turn contributes to the overall health of the entire ecosystem.

They are a “keystone” species.

Massive research and studies of the wolf-ungulate relationship speaks to this and the resulting negative effects.

Throw in the human factor of ongoing interference, mismanagement and the mindset of those who just can’t seem to be satisfied with less and/or those who just enjoy killing for sport and trophies and we have a recipe for ecological chaos.

After hunting wolves to extinction, many countries are introducing wolves back into their wilderness in recognition of the integral role the animals play in maintaining a healthy balance, yet here in the Yukon the art of “wolf killing” is practically being presented as a challenge.

It is beyond me how this recommendation was approved in the absence of any current research being conducted on the long-term ecological affects this will have in the proposed region.

Referring to old studies is not relevant in this day and age given the environmental changes taking place, predominantly, as a result of human behaviour.

To name a few this would include recreational, industrial and urban sprawl and of course climate change, all of which are having huge impacts on the habitat of all species.

Regardless, the term “conservation” as defined in the Umbrella Final Agreement is being followed to a T and is to be practised in this territory but it seems only to ensure that there will be lots of animals to kill come hunting season, whether it’s to put excessive amounts of meat in the freezer or a trophy on the wall.

This revision for an increased wolf kill is no different than the irresponsible aerial wolf kills that have taken place (despite much opposition) in the territory in the past — only this time it appears the kill is being candy coated in an attemp to mitigate any resistance from the public.

We are still waiting to obtain access to documentation regarding the scientific studies that were conducted prior to this recommendation and its consequent approval.

Leá Bayliss

Whitehorse