Letter to the Editor

Road to ruination Open letter to Archie Lang, Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources: We are opposed to the Wernecke Winter Road project in the…

Road to ruination

Open letter to Archie Lang, Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources:

We are opposed to the Wernecke Winter Road project in the Wind River area proposed by Cash Minerals.

This project will have serious negative impacts on wilderness tourism operators, hunting outfitters and the tourism industry as a whole.

As confirmed by research undertaken by the Yukon Tourism department, wilderness is the foundation of the tourism industry in the Yukon — and the Peel River watershed is a wilderness tourism icon.

The rivers and mountains in this area are known internationally for their outstanding canoeing, hiking and hunting opportunities.

Opening up the Wind River area to further mineral exploration activities, particularly uranium, will seriously damage the viability of our businesses in that area.

Why, in the absence of a land-use plan or a commercial wilderness lands policy that would give other stakeholders economic opportunities in this area, are proposals of such magnitude (and without evidence of adequate mitigation) even being considered?

And why haven’t other land users in this area been consulted?

Until these questions are addressed, our members will oppose further industrial developments in the Peel River watershed.

Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon

Wilderness Tourism Association of the Yukon

Yukon Outfitters Association

Business needs a leader who understands

Rick Karp’s comments in your story on Wednesday (“Labour and chamber play safety tug-o-war”) compel a response.

We are not “blaming” employers for injuries — we are calling on Karp to stop blaming the board for the increase in assessments.

We did not say that it is only injuries that are responsible for the general costs of running the compensation system or that the administration costs are not increasing.

We said that the increase in claims costs (the number of injuries and the duration of claims) is the reason for the current increase in assessment costs. Of that there is absolutely no doubt and Karp knows that from the board presentation on November 23.

While it may be true that in BC Karp’s business would pay a much lower assessment, it is also likely that in BC the rate of injuries in that industry group is much lower — assessments must also cover the cost of claims in BC.

For Karp to suggest that workplace safety might improve if the labour federation “membership started joining in the effort instead of leaving the responsibility for safety solely at the feet of employers” is truly insulting, misinformed and irresponsible.

The Yukon Federation of Labour has been at the forefront of promoting safety and prevention for more than a decade and we have been active on compensation issues long before Karp’s arrival on the scene.

Since the beginning of 2007, more than 200 people, most of whom are Yukon Federation of Labour members, have taken one or more of the three courses the federation is offering on return to work.

We have also supported the COR program offered by the Northern Safety Network Yukon from its very inception and two of the labour federation executives sit on the safety network board.

Suffice to say that we are doing our part.

If Karp wants to make a contribution to the effort he should stop trying to divert attention from the real issue — the Yukon has one of the highest rates of injury and the longest duration of claims in Canada.

Alex Furlong, president, Yukon Federation of Labour, Whitehorse

Alternate view of Carcross/Tagish election

This note is in response to last Monday’s letter titled First Nation election woes:

Often is the case in politics that opinions expressed are reflective of how one wishes events transpired, and then there are the facts.

The letter to the editor regarding the selection of the Haa Shaa Du Hen (chief) of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation is the opinion of a revisionist.

The only First Nation election woe related to the November 10th selection of the Haa Shaa Du Hen of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation is the willful misstating of facts by the ‘name withheld’ author.

To ensure an accurate recording on the day of the selection process, a widely respected lawyer was asked to observe the session in order to provide a summary opinion of the events that transpired.

The following are excerpts of the summary opinion from the neutral thirdparty observer:

— The November 10 session marked the second meeting to address the appointment (following three previous days of deliberation).

— Consensus could not be achieved by the clan house masters.

— There is a past practice where clan house masters have decided (previous) appointments of the Haa Shaa Du Hen, based upon a majority vote.

— The clan house masters on November 10, following their efforts to achieve consensus, chose to make the appointment of the Haa Shaa Du Hen by a majority of votes.

— Five of the six clan house masters cast their vote, while Xooxataan abstained.

As a result of the vote Mark Wedge was appointed as the Haa Shaa Du Hen. It is understood that originally the clan house masters cast three votes in favour of Mark Wedge and two votes in favour of Billy Barrett.

However, the clan house masters were subsequently advised that Barrett was not interested to have his name stand at this time due to family commitments.

As a result the two clan house masters in support of Barrett transferred their support and vote in favour of Wedge.

It is important to note that five of the six clan house masters have endorsed this summary opinion as accurate and the signed copy of this document will be posted to the front of our webpage shortly: http://www.ctfn.ca.

Justin Ferbey, Sr. government official, Carcross/Tagish First Nation Government

In fine fiddle

Patrons of the Whitehorse music scene witnessed a brilliant production called Fiddle Rush at the Yukon Arts Centre on Friday evening.

The Diva of Fiddle and the inspiration and author of the remarkable show is the legendary Trish Barclay.

Trish has reworked Fiddle Rush and with this being the 10th anniversary of the original  production, the audience was treated to an incredible display of some twenty young talented musicians and actors.

Singing, dancing, gymnastics, fiddle and violin tunes were intricately woven into an original Klondike Ghost Story, which takes place in the Dawson City Cemetery about the time of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Barclay has an uncanny knack of bringing out the best in kids and utilizes her innate sense of humour to impact in such a positive way with her students.

The all-star-cast enthusiastically demonstrated violin expertise and an appreciation for music throughout the evening.

Character development, building self esteem and creative social interaction are all bonuses for the eager young musicians fortunate enough to have had the Barclay Experience.

The polished and professional aspect of Fiddle Rush also had the mark of the talented Andrea Simpson-Fowler in the amazing choreography.

Original music by Dave Haddock, dramaturgy by Marc Desormeaux and piano accompaniment of Annie Avery contributed in a big way to the overall success of the kids’ performance.

As this northern light prepares to move on to Stratford in developing and sharing her amazing talent, we wish Barclay continued success.

We hope that she always keeps her ties with the music scene here. Trish Barclay, you have been a significant part of the high level of musical talent in the Yukon. Thank you for being part of the “Yukon Fabric.”

Grateful former ‘Fiddle Head’ parents

Marsh Lake