Letter to the Editor

First Nation won’t be trifled with Many people here in Yukon must be wondering why the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation is kicking up such…

First Nation won’t

be trifled with

Many people here in Yukon must be wondering why the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation is kicking up such a fuss over the proposed heap leach mine near Carmacks.

I have to admit that I have had difficulties getting our message across, some subjects just do not lend themselves to short news bites.

We are worried about the potential effects of pollution on the Yukon River and we believe that if the public had all the facts, then everyone would be worried too. My people are particularly concerned, having first-hand experience dealing with the mess at the abandoned Mount Nansen mine. We are not going to let that happen again.

In this case, the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board approved the Carmacks Copper heap leach project without having any good evidence that the mine could be successfully shut down without serious negative effects on the downstream aquatic resources in the Yukon River. To the contrary, the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation submitted several reports by qualified independent scientists who raised serious doubts about this project being able to work as proposed. Despite the high uncertainty of success, the government approved the project.

At this time we are committed to meeting with the Yukon government and Western Copper Corporation to co-operatively find a solution to our concerns about the Carmacks Copper Project. Moving this project forward is going to take further consultation by the government with our First Nation, and the resolution of some very challenging design and engineering problems to make it acceptable.

Our First Nation, Canada and Yukon signed a treaty, and a deal is a deal. Part of the deal is respect for our legitimate concerns. We requested a meeting with Yukon government and the company to attempt to resolve these outstanding design issues with the mine so that all Yukoners, whether they are First Nation people or not, will benefit from our efforts to protect the Yukon River watershed.

Western Copper Corporation and Yukon government are of the opinion that our concerns are due to a lack of understanding the technical information and a lack of understanding the process on our part. The public should not buy into this spin, which plays on old stereotypes of First Nation peoples as being ignorant folks who don’t understand what they are talking about.

This time around my First Nation has hired very qualified experts, university professors and PhDs, to examine the project.

Far from being poorly informed, we are in fact extremely well-informed. We have a very strong team of professionals and First Nation people working on this, we do know what we are talking about.

I have said it over and over, we are not against mining. But in its present form, this project violates the government’s own policy that new projects must be able to achieve a “walkaway” situation at the end of the mine life. That is why we are trying to get this project properly designed so that it will meet the goals of both ourselves and the people of Yukon.

Chief Eddie Skookum

Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation

Carmacks

Why blast away beauty?

Another sheep has been (in my opinion) murdered in the Kluane Game (Sanctuary?).

The ram “was one of the top five in the world” said Nelson Turnbull on CHON FM recently.

The key word is “was.”

Turnbull murdered the very beauty he boasted about. The unnecessary killing of sentient animals for self-gratification and the pleasure gained from taking innocent life is disgusting.

Stalking and then taking the life of this ram without necessity is to me, murder!

So, Mr. “beauty” killer, did you get to ride your victim for a while before you took his life long before his natural demise? Because you were quoted in a local newspaper on July 14 as saying that you would like to “maybe even ride one for a while.”

Did your fantasy to ride a sheep before killing him come true?

Chief Sheldon from Kluane First Nation, how are you showing respect for “your” territory when you permit the killing of a sheep (which does not belong to you, by the way) in a so-called sanctuary? Can you please define sanctuary? Or maybe Kluane Game Sanctuary should be called the “hunt farm.”

Like Turnbull said: the sheep are “not afraid yet” of humans. It sounds as if it was like killing a domestic cow, or even a dog that knows you.

Once again, congratulations, Chief Sheldon; you have sold out to the great white hunter. And Turnbull, you can now compare the size of your ego with the size of the sheep that you have murdered.

Many thanks to Susan Rogan for being a voice for the voiceless. You are correct to say: “The glorification of blowing away beautiful animals” just so people can use their body parts as a ‘trophy’ is disgusting to say the least.

Mike Grieco

Whitehorse

An attack of logic

Yukon News columnist Heather Bennett’s accusations that mines are not paying royalties are as believable as suggestions the moon is made of green cheese.

If mining were to be such a sweetheart of a deal, why aren’t mines opening? Oh, excuse me, I guess I’m not supposed to use logic.

Premier Dennis Fentie will ultimately do as he pleases. He always does, but at least he “consults” with us first.

Mining contributes a lot to the territory, not just in the summer months.

Winters do last seven months, you know.

Dale Worsfold

Watson Lake

Airport parking pain

It would be appreciated if the airport authority would designate and sign a reasonable amount of public parking spaces closest to the terminal for short-term parking.

It is ironic that there are at least 10 arrivals and departures daily that are met by people who have to park near the Alaska Highway, yet there are vehicles with several days’ snow on them close to the terminal.

Regardless of what the long-term plans are for the airport, it would be appreciated if action could be taken now. As a suggestion for the signage, the signs could read “Four hour parking only, No overnight parking, Vehicles may be towed at owner’s expense.”

Tire treads could be marked to control the parking.

Gayle Moffatt

Whitehorse