Letter to the Editor

Shining lights We would like to thank all those who contributed to Hospice Yukon’s 17th Annual Lights of Life in December.

Shining lights

We would like to thank all those who contributed to Hospice Yukon’s 17th Annual Lights of Life in December.

It takes a lot of people to make this event happen year after year and we would like to take this opportunity to say, thank you.

The vision of Hospice Yukon is to offer quality end-of-life care and bereavement support to all.

One of the ways we fulfill this is through Lights of Life during the Christmas season. This event provides a meaningful way to remember someone who has died by placing a remembrance tag on a Lights of Life Christmas tree.

More than 115 people attended the Lights of Life opening ceremony at the Elijah Smith Building.

The Persephone Singers, under the direction of Barb Chamberlin, filled the space with their beautiful voices. Many people were moved by the Creative Expressions of Grief display, which showed a variety of ways to honour a loved one.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to those who contributed to the display, and to those who participated in the ceremony.

Thank you to our generous business community: Alpine Bakery for delicious food, Java Connection for coffee, Marsh Lake Tents and Events for tables and chairs, Northern Elegance for beautiful poinsettias, and the Westmark Hotel for tablecloths.

Well over 900 tags were placed on all of the Lights of Life trees in Whitehorse and Mayo, with 81 of those on our pet tree.

Special thanks to Connie Buyck and her volunteers for providing this for the communities of Mayo, Keno and Pelly Crossing.

Finally, a huge thank you to the hospice volunteers and tree-sitter volunteers who so generously gave their time and hearts, and provided moments of stillness during this busy time of the year.

We are grateful to the media, which provided such great coverage of Lights and Life and helped get the information out there.

 We appreciate all of you!

Jennifer Groot, project co-ordinator, on behalf of our Hospice Yukon board of directors, staff and volunteers

 Poorly researched article

I was quite upset when I read Matthew Grant’s article entitled Parental custody 101 — from brain surgery to legal fees.

 I will freely admit that I am not a journalist, nor have I taken any official training in the art of journalism, but this does not mean that I do not know a poorly researched and biased article.

I read Matthew Grant’s article, and as I am acquainted with not just the subject, but all the people involved, I can say with all confidence that your reporter has brought up an interesting and problematic situation; unfortunately, he did not do enough research.

As this situation is still in the courts and not resolved, I will not state all of the facts of which I am acquainted. What I can and will do, is point out where Grant has made errors in his research.

Point 1: “His cousin’s wives, Deborah and Jean Bastien, had his mother Betty replace a power of attorney document she signed with Bill a few weeks after her surgery in early July 2006.”

This is incorrect. Jean and Deborah were asked to become the powers of attorney by Betty which they accepted on the condition that they share the responsibilities should the need arrive. This was done as a means of check and balance of accountability on their part.

Point 2: “It also entitled them to draw ‘reasonable expenses’ from the elderly couple’s bank account, though they were prohibited from disposing of non-cash assets.”

Although true, Grant does not point out that neither Jean nor Deborah have spent any of Ed or Betty’s money and have been spending their own money for travel, accommodations, food, etc. As well, the above was quickly followed by point 3.

“And his father’s money was used to pay the Bastiens’ legal bills, he said.”

Again, Grant needs to check his facts; the Bastiens have not had any legal bills and, if Grant did the research, he would have discovered this. The fact that he makes no mention of this leads me to believe that he didn’t do the research or he didn’t care, both of which should never occur in a reporter’s line of work, especially one who teaches journalism.

Point 4: “’With regard to mental capacity, he has always been oriented and has appeared capable to me of making his own decisions,’ said Dr. Anderson in a letter dated September 2006.”

Be that as it may, Ed Karman was tested by a professional specifically trained in the area of capability assessment who found that Ed Karman was in need of assistance regarding his finances.

If Grant had been privy to that report, he would also have noticed that Ed Karman personally requested that Jean be his representative and the reason why he chose her.

Point 5: “Deborah Bastien, the alternate temporary guardian, and her husband Phil had a $33,000 government loan sent to a collection agency in March 2005, she noted.”

This is simply sensationalism and misleading as well as incorrect since Deborah has never been granted guardianship of Ed or Betty. This sentence makes it sound as if Deborah and Phil are using Betty’s money for their own purpose, but no money that I am aware of has been taken by the Bastiens.

Point 6: “Both Jean and Deborah Bastien refused interview requests.”

Only Deborah refused, but Grant did not explain why, nor did Grant put forth a concerted effort to contact Jean Bastien in a timely manner.

He did call Jean’s home phone while she was at work, and she did call him back and left a message. The second time he called and left a message, Jean was again at work and Grant put a 10 a.m. deadline for her to return his call.

When Deborah was asked for an interview, she said that she did not think that private family matters needed to be placed on public display and that she did not give your newspaper permission to use her name.

Neither Jean nor Deborah want to talk about this subject because the case is still in the courts and, as such, neither of them wishes to jeopardize this case as they both want what is best for Betty.

I will freely admit that I am the son of Jean Bastien and that, as such, I am biased to this case.

For the past three years, I have kept my mouth shut and stayed out of it, but no longer.

I am tired of the defamation of character for my relatives (Jean, Norm, Deborah, Phil, Ed and Betty) by “family” (Bill, Shirley and their children Kyle and Ashley) over the last three years, as well as the harm and troubles your paper has caused by printing an incomplete, biased and poorly compiled report.

I have tried to present some of the major errors in Grant’s article in an unbiased fashion by only offering where he went wrong and pointing him in the direction of the truth.

And now is when you’d expect a demand for an apology on behalf of the Bastiens, but I will not demand one.

I will not even ask for one. I expect that after you have done the necessary research, you will realize that Grant has dragged his and your credibility through the mud and that you will offer, of your own volition, a highly visible and genuine apology within your newspaper.

Thank you for your attention and consideration.

Kelson Bastien

Calgary