Letter to the Editor

Biting back Re Change your diet, save your teeth (the News, May 9): Mike Brine thinks that the simple alternative to enriching drinking water with…

Biting back

Re Change your diet, save your teeth (the News, May 9):

Mike Brine thinks that the simple alternative to enriching drinking water with enough fluoride to maintain healthy teeth in young people is to go back to nature — to live without any adulteration of the drinking supply, including purification.

Perhaps he should contemplate how six billion people, a very large percentage of whom have very little access to clean water of any sort, could possibly live such an idealistic life.

Obviously, it is thousands of times more practical to bring fluoride to the child through drinking water than it is to attempt to reinvent civilization on the scale he suggests.

Simply put: fluoride reduces dental decay.

Also simply put: fluoride is not poisonous until it reaches a concentration some hundreds of times higher than what is habitually introduced into water supplies by municipalities that care enough about dental health to make serious attempts to reduce the carnage.

Dave Robertson

Whitehorse

Fighting cavities

While I was growing up, I lived in a town without fluoride in the drinking water. I was never allowed, what today we call, junk food.

I had good dental hygiene and yet I endured many painful and frightening trips to the dentist to fix cavities.

So it was with relief that I knew, when my children were growing up here in the ‘70s and ‘80s, that they would not have to undergo those dreaded trips to the dentist that I did.

And it was true. They were average kids but had no cavities. They ate the usual diet and brushed their teeth in the usual way. No cavities. 

Now my godchildren, age five, living in Whitehorse, have had to undergo treatment on their teeth to fix cavities although they, too, eat a healthy diet and have good dental habits. 

According to the Canadian Dental Association as quoted in the Yukon News May 2, “Fluoride reduces dentals cavities by 40 to 50 per cent.”

Why must all the citizens of Whitehorse be hostages to a few who do not want fluoride in the drinking water?

Mary Whitley

Whitehorse

Priorities and openness

Re Playing politics with the dead (Legislative Notebook, Yukon News, May 9):

Liberal Motion No. 449 urged the Yukon government to send aid to help rebuild Burma from the devastating effects of the May 2008 cyclone.

We disagree with reporter Jeremy Warren’s characterization of this as a questionable motion.

The Liberal caucus strongly felt it was important to support the relief effort, and we used the most direct avenue we could to make this point.

Warren’s article left the impression the government had already made a donation before the debate occurred and had informed the public of it.

In fact, there had been no public announcements about Yukon providing aid to Burma.

I met with Speaker Ted Staffen Thursday morning and requested that he notify the government caucus and the premier of our intent to call this motion, and I explained that our caucus had a genuine desire to see Yukon do our part in the disaster relief efforts.

In the three hours prior to my calling this motion, the premier did not contact our caucus to tell us that the government was in the process of organizing a contribution via the Canadian Red Cross.

Indeed, the first we learned of that decision was when the premier rose in response to the motion.

Had the premier contacted the Liberal caucus at any time prior to the debate commencing, we would have, of course, withdrawn the motion as being no longer necessary.

Since he did not, we proceeded to debate the motion on its merits.

With regard to the amount of time the debate took, we certainly did not extend the debate as our caucus decided only one person would speak to the motion.

On the other hand, every Yukon Party government member chose to speak to the motion.

I also would like to correct the record regarding debate on the Health and Social Services budget.

That debate had occurred on Monday and Tuesday of last week, and the department had already been cleared.

Yes, we may have to spend 90 minutes less time on some other portion of the budget.

If we had the decision to make again, our decision would be the same. Some things are more pressing and urgent than Yukon’s budget debate and the Liberal caucus believes that aiding victims of such a massive natural disaster is one of those things.

Arthur Mitchell, MLA Copperbelt, leader of the Official Opposition

Feds cut power

to First Nations TV

It came as an alarming surprise to us, the silence around the elimination of the television programming of Northern Native Broadcasting Yukon.

The implications of this seem shameful.

The political process of, the information about and the documentation therein of First Nations implementing their self-governing agreements will be cut off from the rest of Canada and from the Yukon itself.

Not to mention that the important happenings and coverage of cultural and traditional events within the First Nation communities will be lost.

This programming is the only nationally televised voice of Yukon First Nation citizens and Yukoners alike.

 It is important to remember that the Yukon has seven language groups and 14 distinct First Nation communities and that without language-based and culturally based programming to educate and reflect the traditions of the past as well as values to carry for the future, slowly and most assuredly they will be lost.

Rather than simply closing this institution down, it should be given the opportunity and resources to evolve.

If the board of Northern Native Broadcasting Yukon is not willing to continue to provide voice and education to the First Nations and to live up to its original mandate perhaps, and hopefully, an alternative outlet can be found.

Where is the political backlash? What is the true motive behind this? Consultation and public input, where is that?

I would invite the First Nations of this territory and its people to action.

These are your television shows and now more than ever need your help.

Allen Murray and Linda Bonnefoy

Whitehorse