Letter to the Editor

Electoral problems I am a very concerned citizen of Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation. To date, I have seen many discrepancies with rules set out…

Electoral problems

I am a very concerned citizen of Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation. To date, I have seen many discrepancies with rules set out with the election of chief and council.

To start, Cathy Cochrane is chief electoral officer and directly related to three candidates running as councillors.

Also, Marion Skookum will collect the votes as secretary of Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation and is running as councillor.

If the election is to be fair, honest and valid, then another person, who is not related, should be in that position.

I see staff running as councillors.

During a General Assembly an elder stated that a person cannot be in two places at once.

Staff, if running, should choose which position they would like to take — councillor or remain as staff.

When staff are councillors, they are technically their own boss and they cannot entirely perform their duties properly.

If staff can find time to run as councillors then we, as a First Nation, should take a look at their position as it is not keeping them busy enough.

Another area is the deputy chief. In another past General Assembly it was stated that no family should hold both the position of chief and deputy chief. It was also in the rules that anyone with the largest number of votes is the deputy chief as long as they are not the same family as the chief.

It was also stated by Cochrane that there will be no public debate with chief and council candidates in Whitehorse.

So, again, we are left in the dark with what’s happening in Carmacks and need to know.

We are citizens of Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation and have the right to ask, to question and to get answers.

Hazel Skookum

Carmacks

Soccer association

drops the ball

Brian Gillen and his group have sorely missed the boat in the handling of the hazing incident involving the Firth Rangers U-14 soccer team.

First, let us be very clear on what happened. We can minimize it by calling it hazing, we can call it bullying and we can reduce the responsibility of the coaches and managers because the actions are related to sport, however let’s not cloud the issue of what occurred.

This was criminal behaviour, this was assault, this was forcible confinement and this was intimidation.

All the investigations, all the carefully crafted words and promises of change are mostly responses to protect the reputation of the Yukon Soccer Association.

Would Gillen and company be managing this story the same way if his child had been walking down the street and three assailants had forcibly tied that child to a bed or chair, written obscene things on their bodies and filled orifices with toothpaste?

Would he be calling for healing and protecting the reputations of the assailants by failing to disclose punishments?

I think not. He would be calling the police and demanding the culprit(s) be arrested.

I can’t believe the number of people who have validated this craziness as a rite of passage, or team building.

When we assume the role of parent, teacher, coach and mentor we also assume the responsibility of knowing what is happening, of creating relationships with our players so that the abused will disclose improper conduct knowing they will be protected and something will be done.

To not hold the adults responsible in any way is a clear indication that your goal is about developing elite athletic teams, not about protecting children.

Gillen, this did not happen once, it happened repeatedly. Willful blindness is not a defence.

I support your initiatives of training and awareness, all good steps. However, until you are transparent about the punishment, until your primary goal is protecting the victims, until you recognize this behaviour is criminal, everything else is window dressing.

You said publicly, several times, that you spent 100 hours of volunteer time investigating this complaint, a small investment when one considers the costs to the victims.

Your organization is publicly funded in many respects; your obligations are to spend our money protecting our children, especially when they are away from home and in your trust.

Everyday I walk into our school and look at the countless posters and signs depicting bullying prevention.

The Yukon Soccer Association had the opportunity to be transparent in a true condemnation of violence and bullying in our community.

You dropped the ball.

Doug Green

Whitehorse

Postscript: I am in disbelief after all that has gone on this week in relation to the situation involving the Firth Rangers U-14 team.

I listen to a 10-minute radio interview with Gillen talking about understanding bullying, coach training, healing, etc, etc, etc.

Then along comes Monique Bennett, and she promptly holds a press conference to announce she is apparently in support of this behaviour and that, somehow, the community is overreacting because these are not criminal acts.

Someone down there might just want to go out and purchase the Criminal Code of Canada and have a look at a couple of relevant sections that apply to this fiasco.

Let’s start with Assault and Unlawful Detention. Just so Bennett might be informed, not once in my 26-year policing career did it say that you may not commit assault unless you are playing for a Yukon soccer team — then it’s OK.

I dare one of you to publicly say these kids wanted to be taped up and abused, because that is what is being insinuated.

There has been enough damage done without uninformed, uneducated soccer coaches holding press conferences and making legal judgments.

Was she part of the investigative team? If so, you won’t release the penalty, but you allow her to release her opinion. And if not, where is her information coming from to decide on the severity of the assaults?

I have been involved in sports my entire life, at every level from recreational soccer to the Western Hockey League, and I have never experienced anything as unprofessional or insensitive as Bennett’s comments. She should be terminated.

It is very apparent that you better get the training done quickly because at least one of your coaching staff, and I suspect a few more, just does not get it.

This is not the 50s, we no longer haze, bully or harass without serious legal consequences.

Doug Green

Whitehorse

Homeless Al’s home away from home

Re “Homeless Al inspires sympathy, sows confusion” by James Munson (the News November 7):

The first paragraph gives the impression that the RCMP returned Al “back” to the border in an attempt to keep him from entering Canada.

In fact, Al was between the Alaskan and Canadian border when Const. Jean-Luc Bedard went out, on his own time, to assist another community member in loading Al’s bike and belongings into a truck.

It was dark and getting cold and there was concern for Al’s well-being were he to stay out on the highway.

After discussion with Al, it was decided that he would be given a ride to and accommodation in Beaver Creek.

Constable Bedard accompanied Al through the customs process and to a local hotel where he helped to unload his belongings. Contrary to what your article implies, at no time was he detained and both the RCMP and Canada Customs were more than patient and caring in their dealings with Al.

I would also like to mention how the community of Beaver Creek really came together to help Al. A couple of community members assisted him in trying to contact family and were finally successful in reaching a brother and a nephew.

Once it became apparent that Al was intent on continuing his journey (a bus ticket was offered and refused), Al’s bike trailer was outfitted with reflective flags so that he would be more visible to traffic.

Another member of the community donated a heavy-duty sleeping bag to help protect him from the elements. Others donated food and money and some simply spent time keeping him company and making sure that he had everything he needed during his stay here in Beaver Creek.

Perhaps in the future it would be advisable to contact the people you refer to in your articles (i.e. Randi, RCMP) so that they also have an opportunity to have their comments and views noted.

Better yet, an interview with Al himself would allow him the opportunity to speak for himself about his journey and experiences.

Tracey MacEwan

Beaver Creek