Letter to the Editor

Hold politicians to account Politicians play at politics without trying to modify the rules of the game.

Hold politicians to account

Politicians play at politics without trying to modify the rules of the game.

It’s a game, which was never designed to be very democratic in the first place.

Centuries of British tradition go by with never a court challenge to its legitimacy. The Law Commission of Canada had the courage to say we should change. For its audacity, the government disbanded the commission itself.

Until recently, a socio-democratic government was always the result of a Canadian federal election, according to Professor Shadia Drury of the University of Regina. This is no longer the case with the break up of the PC Party. Any progressive ideology of public common good is minimized.

We are in the end game now. We have lost all semblances of democracy, and the environment is a shambles. We are at risk of losing every element of the people’s common good — our water, our electricity, our right of way, our public broadcasting, our public health care, the control over our security, and our military, food safety — even our sovereignty is in jeopardy.

Fish stocks, wildlife, soil, biodiversity are at risk worldwide and may never recover, but the political game goes on as though we haven’t a care.

It is time we had a court challenge to our electoral system. Society should have a say in policy along with business interests.

Matthew R Foster

Cambridge, Ontario

Ta’an slighted

Re Plan to save Southern Lakes moose gathers dust (the News, September 28):

The above-mentioned article paints a false picture that First Nations have been driving around since signing off on our “Land Claims Deals” shooting all the moose in the Southern Lakes region.

Moose populations in the Southern Lakes area are on the decline. That is what Elders, citizens and hunters that live in these areas have been saying for years.

Ta’an Kwach’an Council refers to our “Land Claims Deals” as Ta’an Kwach’an Council Final Agreement and Ta’an Kwach’an Council Self Government Agreement. Included with this letter are copies of the agreements for your future reference.

It is impossible to assume or predict that the moose population would increase by 2,000 animals if First Nations hunts were restricted. There are so many disturbances to moose and moose habitat that it is impractical to point your finger at just one factor. Human impact to fish and wildlife populations is the highest in the Southern Lakes region.

I agree that some aboriginal rights get abused, but this occurs in all societies not just First Nations. Poaching by nonaboriginal hunters also affects wildlife in the Southern Lakes region. The vast majority of First Nations people in today’s society maintain the respect and stewardship of the land that is entrenched in their history, culture and beliefs.

Like any other Yukon First Nation, Ta’an Kwach’an Council has worked endlessly trying to preserve the limited wildlife habitat in our traditional territories.

You may recall our efforts and thousands of dollars in legal fees to preserve Shallow Bay, a key wetland and wildlife habitat. Or you may recall our cleanup efforts for the McIntyre Creek dump that was put in an obvious wildlife corridor and salmon spawning stream by other governments, which have failed to take responsibility for its reclamation.

On numerous occasions Ta’an Kwach’an Council has advocated for land use planning to occur as per Chapter 11 of the final agreement so that future development may allow for prime moose habitat and other key wildlife areas to be protected from future development. To date, this has not occurred.

Ta’an Kwach’an citizens have been reducing their harvest for years on all species.

We have limited our fish intake because of mercury and PCBs, we have voluntarily restricted harvest on Southern Lakes caribou, we have reduced our salmon harvest and furthermore we have reduced our moose harvesting in our traditional territory.

Many Ta’an Kwach’an citizens go without traditional foods because of decline in fish and wildlife population in our traditional territory. There is simply not enough for everybody to have an ample share of resources.

But removing traditional food completely from First Nation people’s diet is like removing fruits and vegetables — it would be impossible.

The reality is that harvesting a moose is not just about eating moose meat; it’s about keeping a culture alive, and teaching children the ways of the elders.

It is about using parts of the animal for medicinal purposes. It is about tanning the hide to make crafts and clothing; it is about families gathering and eating the delicacies for a happy occasion rather than a sad one.

The Southern Lakes Wildlife Co-ordinating Committee effective date is April 1, and it has made the declining moose population a main priority.

In order to be effective, all parties, including governments, stakeholders, conservationists, hunters, trappers, non-First Nations, and First Nations, need to be onside in order for the management plans to be successful.

Ta’an Kwach’an Council is committed to the mandate of the Southern Lakes Wildlife Co-ordinating Committee as stated in Kwanlin Dun and Carcross Tagish Final Agreement.

Ta’an Kwach’an Council encourages all those concerned to attend renewable resource council meetings, Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board meetings or public community meetings, and soon public meetings hosted by the Southern Lakes Wildlife Co-ordinating Committee, for dialogue and discussion on the future of wildlife habitat in our residing area.

And to plan for a brighter future for all residents.

Chief Ruth Massie, Ta’an Kwach’an Council

Whitehorse

Restore fairness and equity

Hi. My name is Florence (Mervyn) Quigley. I am an Elder in the Na-Cho Nyak First Nation in Mayo. I have lived in Maple Ridge, BC, for 42 years.

This letter is about not being treated fairly and equally! 

I believe Na-Cho Nyak First Nation members who live “outside,” meaning BC, Alberta, etc., are (in my opinion) the “forgotten people.”  We have certain rights as Na-Cho Nyak First Nation members, but are not kept informed (well in advance). 

Fairness and equality is something Na-Cho Nyak First Nation does not practice! We hear about programs etc., via the grapevine.

I am upset about this and hope that improvement is possible.

Keep us informed please! Return our phone calls and reply to our letters!

This letter will be forwarded to Na-Cho Nyak First Nation in Mayo, including an addendum.

Thank you.

Florence Quigley

via e-mail

Calling all Yukon mamas

It’s a small town.

Please sign the petition that should now be available in every community. Ask for the Angel’s Nest Youth Shelter petition. Somebody has it.

All of Yukon could benefit from a youth shelter that can help with the roughness of Whitehorse. Let’s protect our youth.

This is a good plan, for now. It is a solid plan to address the immediate problem and includes the safe house they need.

Being around other youth, in a place that has their needs being met, would improve everybody’s life in a short time. These youth at risk have certain immediate needs that can be addressed. The youth are the champions in this.

We’ve all been there. How nice would it have been to have a place like this, instead of some of the real places we laid our heads. I don’t want my kid, or his friends, to ever have to do something they don’t want to do. This place could continue addressing the youth-at-risk problems.

There are kids doing things that no mother would ever want them to do. A small town does not mean small problem.

Those kids are our kids. We know them. It could be any kid in the Yukon. Do the right thing, Yukon. Sign the petition.

Olimpia Marra

via e-mail

Nice and positive

I just wanted  to say how much I’ve enjoyed the articles written by Tor Forsberg profiling the community members of Watson Lake.

I hope you continue the articles. I enjoy the positive information on the Watson Lake community.

It’s like a breath of fresh air.

Thank you!

Kathy Magun

Watson Lake

Registering to vote for the upcoming election

With all the attention being paid to the upcoming election here in Canada, it is also time to remind all of the American citizens residing in Yukon to register to vote in the upcoming US election. It looks like the margins in this election will again be razor thin, so every vote truly will count.

For those who are unsure about how to register to vote, the American government has launched a new site: www.votefromabroad.org that makes it beyond easy to register.

Paul Zachary

via e-mail

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