Driving home an
Open letter to Dennis Fentie and Arthur Mitchell:
We are writing to bring to your attention an issue we are having with our Yukon drivers’ licences.
We use this card as our primary proof of identification, as most people do.
We are graduate students temporarily living and studying in Scandinavia for two years, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to function here and in other countries we visit due to the appearance and quality of our drivers’ licences.
When we are required to present proof of identification, we are consistently told that they are too easily forged and will not suffice as proof of identification, where drivers’ licences from other countries/regions are accepted.
Often, in fact, our drivers’ licences are laughed at — and then rejected. Examples of this situation include:
1. Using our credit cards.
Many countries require ID every time credit cards are used. We have waited in lines at retail and grocery stores just to be told they will not accept our credit cards for payment because our Yukon drivers’ licences are not considered suitable pieces of identification.
2. Purchasing alcohol.
Our licences are never accepted as suitable identification at bars, restaurants or liquor stores.
3. Renting a car.
We were unable to rent a car because the car rental agency would not accept our drivers’ licences. This happened in a country that does not require an international driver’s licence.
4. Driving a car.
In one situation we were stopped at a check stop, and asked to produce a driver’s licence. The police officer would not accept our Yukon driver’s licence as legitimate. This also happened in a country that does not require an international driver’s licence.
Consequently, we are now required to carry around our passports more often — something we generally try to avoid. Spontaneous decisions with friends to stop for a beer at a pub or have a glass of wine when eating out are difficult or impossible.
This problem is not limited to situations outside of Canada.
Increasingly, we have been asked for another form of ID when we present our drivers’ licences in other parts of Canada as well.
We have encountered these problems in the USA, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, UK, and Canada.
While we understand that switching to a more updated and advanced driver’s licence could be costly, we feel there is a justifiable need to do just that. Yukoners are travellers after all — and this issue impairs our ability to travel and makes travelling frustrating at times.
Furthermore, it’s embarrassing (and a little offensive) to have our drivers’ licences laughed at.
We hope that sometime in the near future the Yukon government will decide to update the Yukon driver’s licence to something more compatible with the 21st century.
Thank you for your time, and we hope our input is taken seriously.
Graeme Pelchat and Lauren Haney
Power bill problems
The Utilities Consumers’ Group has now had the opportunity to review the news release from Yukon Energy regarding its application to reduce rates for electricity.
It proposes a new rider on our bills, which would theoretically lower residential rates by 17.8 per cent on the first 1,000 kilowatt hours of usage.
For any usage above this amount, the proposal is to then have an incremental increase to these rates.
On the surface this looks like a good deal for ratepayers, but if one looks at this beyond the fluff, then it becomes smoke and mirrors.
First and foremost, Yukon Energy does not want Yukoners to use electricity for our household heating, but will sell this extra hydro power to an Outside industrial customer at a much lower rate to run their mill and heating of offices and buildings.
Second, Yukon Energy provided evidence that they would be making an extra $3 million from energy sales to Minto Resources, but this new application suggests only a savings of less than half of this amount to apply to reductions for other ratepayers.
Where is the remainder $1.7 million going?
Third, all the gobbledy-gook around the run-off blocks after 1,000 kilowatt hours and their incremental increase makes it nearly impossible to get a hold on the true proposed reduction.
Fourth, the Rate Stabilization Fund return back to ratepayers is scheduled to end and when this takes effect, and this alone will make the proposed reduction almost negligible.
Fifth, Yukon Electrical Co. Ltd has applied for a 10.8 per cent increase in the same two-year period. By the time you add on this rider and that rider and all their modifications, most customer bills will increase significantly.
The Yukon Energy proposal is to place a new rider, called Rider U to implement this new energy rate. It is proposed as an interim refundable rider until the Yukon Utilities Board makes its final decision on the proposal.
Again, we do not know how these new riders will operate, how many numbers.
There are some positive reductions for the first 1,000 kilowatt hours, then incremental increases for usage after this amount.
There is far too much junk already on our billing.
Get rid of the YEC revenue shortfall rider first and foremost.
This is no longer needed as we will now have a mine online to replace the old Faro industrial shortfall in revenues. Why should this remain on our bills?
An open Letter to Yukoners regarding their power bills:
You have been subjected to all kinds of rhetoric about your power bills in the past two years, especially of late, and it’s time for an accountability check.
While it’s good to see a spot decrease for some customers and a greater conservation price signal, you should not be fooled. You will recall the Yukon Party government’s promise of no bill increases as it announced the Rate Stabilization Fund would be abolished in two stages. That promise was made in the context of future rate applications which have now been filed.
The stabilization fund protected Yukon customers from volatile power rates for a decade and generally lowered power bills by 30 per cent.
On July 1, 2007, the Yukon Party government cut the stabilization fund in half, effectively increasing all power bills by 15 per cent. The remaining 15 per cent bill hike will take effect after the rate application process concludes, sometime next year.
Meanwhile, Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. has increased bills by 5 per cent and wants more next year.
Although the equation isn’t yet totally clear, the Yukon Party has already broken its promise of no bill increases and it’s only going to get worse.
So far, the bill equation looks something like this (get ready for some numbers):
Rates will increase 15 per cent due to the Yukon Party’s reduction in the stabilization fund.
Rates will increase five per cent due to YECL’s increase.
Rates will increase five per cent through another YECL increase.
Rates will drop 18 per cent for low-consumption customers (who use less than 1,000 kilowatt hours a month).
Rates will increase 17 per cent for high consumption customers (who use more than 1,000 kilowatt hours a month).
Rates will increase another 15 per cent through the elimination of the stabilization fund.
Do the math: the answer is a bill increase anywhere from 22 to 57 per cent depending on the amount of power consumed.
Once the smoke clears, bills will be substantially higher from the time of the Yukon Party’s promise.
Hardest hit will be large families, or those with electric heat who are unable to fuel-switch or significantly reduce consumption.
It’s my job to point out when the government doesn’t keep its promises, and people deserve to see the truth through all the smoke and mirrors.
Gary McRobb, MLA for Kluane,
Opposition Energy Critic
Defending wolves by the numbers
I write regarding a recent letter concerning “putting a bounty on 30 or 40 per cent of wolves.”
At first glance I was not going to respond to such a fable, thinking to myself or, rather, assuming there simply can’t be another human being, let alone a Yukoner, who would subscribe to such a twisted tale.
And then it hit me: never assume.
Your entire letter was a work of fiction. Your absurd conclusion rests on the even crazier premise that 10,000 wolves are following the Porcupine caribou herd and chowing down at their hearts content.
I suppose you also believe the world is flat, or maybe that there are 10,000 lions pursuing wildebeests across the Serengeti?
Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.
My next step following the writing of this letter is to lobby the Territorial government in order to subsidize a bounty on stupidity.
The wolf, the eternal scapegoat.
Your letter was reminiscent of another masterpiece written to the News on April 20th, 2007.
In it, the writer also claimed to be this knowledgeable outdoorsman, hunter and frontier freemont of the bush.
He went on to say that over all the years of travelling to the same area with his sled that he never came across so many ungulate carcasses as he had that year.
He then blamed the wolf.
Yes indeed, a virtual wilderness Einstein. So he first creates all the animal corridors by frolicking around on his sled and then blames the animals for using them.
My advice to him was to shoot his sled.
My advice to you is to shoot the spaceship you used to gather your numbers. It’s as if you threw a handful of jelly beans in the air, managed to catch 10 and then multiplied by a thousand. Brilliant.
Fact of the matter is, there are probably not 10,000 wolves on this continent.
The powers that be have no idea how many wolves are in this territory and their guesstimates are strategic in nature and not of sound mind or practice.
You see, they indirectly work for the hunters and trappers.
All of you resident local experts on the lupus have probably never even seen a damn wolf and would not even know what its scat looked like if you were standing in it.