Letter to the Editor

Rages against bylaws, etc. This is an open letter to the fine folks that make Whitehorse such a beautiful place to live.

Rages against

bylaws, etc.

This is an open letter to the fine folks that make Whitehorse such a beautiful place to live.

This letter is in regard to the proposed smoking ban in cars that you guys seem so eager to pass.

It baffles me that council has time to debate such frivolous issues when there are 100 times more legitimate issues that should be addressed first.

Understand, smoking kills. No one says it doesn’t. That’s not why I’m writing this.

You are venturing into very dangerous waters by trying to pass laws that govern private dwellings.

And also what concerns me is how quickly Doug Graham changed his view on this matter.

A few weeks ago, I read an article with him condemning this, based on it being private property. I commended his actions.

Now we turn to the paper, and it seems he has flip-flopped, on the basis of being uninformed.

I’m not sure about you, but people in public office who hold views one day and change them the next, in my opinion, can’t be trusted.

Also, I want to know how much the Canadian Cancer Society is paying you for such a swift change of heart.

Want to protect the children?

Ban smoking… period.

There is no shortage of ads on the perils of smoking. So I ask, why can they still be purchased legally?

Oh right, money.

That’s what’s put above our well-being and health, not just children, everyone.

It seems the Canadian Cancer Society should be lobbying Ottawa, not coming to the North to harp its useless rhetoric on what we should do.

What’s next? Smoking bans in peoples’ homes? Exactly.

And, to me, that’s a very frightening situation.

If smokes were such a threat, like we are told everyday, then they could not be purchased. Period.

Seeing we are talking about clean air, I call on city council to also ban woodstoves.

In today’s age of global warming and climate change, I still can’t wrap my head around why people, especially in Whitehorse, continue to burn wood for heat.

Are you out in the deep woods? No you’re not.

Do I choose to breathe in this thick toxic smoke everyday?

How about the children who breathe this in 24/7?

Where are our rights?

Why isn’t there any talk of the polluted air from 1,000 woodstoves when we have a very clean source of energy called hydro electricity?

Also, I have lived in Whitehorse for more than 20 years, and I vaguely remember there used to be woodstove bans in Riverdale. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Having someone smoke in their car does affect a child, but it doesn’t affect a whole community, such as the needless waste of burning trees.

Who is going to enforce this ridiculous law anyway?

Little bylaw guys on bikes sitting at stoplights, pen in hand, hoping for an infraction?

It seems Whitehorse is in the red thanks to the Games centre.

But from increased taxes, water meters, and doubling parking meters, to $200 fines for smoking in the cars, it seems the sky is the limit for more money being taken out of our pockets.

But as council has stated before, the people have spoken, and they crave more taxes.

City council should be worried about the lack of affordable housing in Whitehorse, not useless laws to take more of our rights away.

Council should worry about lack of snow removal from busy streets and school zones, that put you, me and your children at a greater risk than secondhand smoke would ever cause.

Oh, by the way, I don’t smoke.

Have a nice day.

Wes Larson


The death of trapping

The public consultations on the wildlife act proposed revisions sure have taken an interesting turn.

Public debate over the proposal to allow hunters to shoot more wolves (the rationale for which remains elusive) has morphed into a heated discussion about trapping. I am wading into this valuable discussion, while hoping that the original issue won’t be lost in the public eye.

As someone who has openly expressed my own opinions on the well-being of wild animals, I was relieved to see Frank Johnstone’s letter on Friday, February 8 explaining that his wolf skull “gift” to animal rights activist Mike Grieco was meant to be educational and not threatening.

It is a shame that Johnstone’s verbal message did not arrive with the skull as intended, for there is no miscommunication like non-communication. These past several weeks must have been difficult for Johnstone as he contemplated how to undo the damage done by this failed message.

He explained in his letter that he selected a specific wolf’s skull for this educational gift. He pointed out the animal’s worn and missing teeth as evidence for how the act of trapping the animal had served as a form of euthanasia.

But there is a fundamental flaw in this lesson.

Even if we came to agree that he was acting nobly by taking the life of an animal who was doomed to die anyway (aren’t we all?), we must also agree that trapping is non-selective.

Though Johnstone carefully selected this particular skull from his collection, there is no way that he could have selectively trapped this wolf, or any other.

Had he been able to make that choice, I seriously question why he would choose to trap an animal that was nearing the end of his or her natural life, given the probable poor quality of the under nourished animal’s pelt.

An additional problem with the euthanasia argument is that many trapped animals suffer unreasonable pain and fear before their lives are ended.

Traps and snares are not perfect, cruelty-free tools for gently snuffing out an animal’s life. If one wished to end the suffering of an animal who is in poor health, a trap would not be a compassionate choice of tool for the job.

Johnstone’s letter also described the role trappers play in monitoring wildlife. While I do not doubt his assertion that he provides useful information about the animals he traps to regional biologists and wildlife agencies, it is nonetheless clear that his primary goal as a trapper is not to monitor the well-being of furbearing animals.

If we, as a society, are serious about this monitoring work, we’d have wildlife biologists doing it, and their methods would be non-intrusive.

Rather, the motivation behind trapping is to provide monetary gain for the trapper and furs for the fashion industry.

Of course everyone needs to make a living. But the fashion industry does not need furs, as there are countless other suitable and attractive fabrics available. Furs are much more appealing when worn by the animals they belong to, and the animals can wear their own furs guilt-free.

I feel sympathy for Johnstone when I state my position on trapping, as I question the necessity of the trapping livelihood, which he considers a key part of his identity.

Yet even he alluded to the occupation’s potential demise in his letter, saying it is something he is working hard to try and prevent.

If trapping is indeed in its sunset years, this is very good news for the animals. As for the trappers, I feel confident that they have other lucrative talents to be proud of.

Rachel Westfall


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