Letter to the Editor

The giving side of Whitehorse My wife and I were on a vacation we had dreamt about for years. We finally had the opportunity to have this dream come…

The giving side of Whitehorse

My wife and I were on a vacation we had dreamt about for years. We finally had the opportunity to have this dream come true: the Alaska Highway.

We spent our first week making our way up to Whitehorse. We took our time, driving at leisure and enjoying every kilometre of the trip.

Wildlife, the breathtaking scenery — it was everything and more than we had dreamed of.

Tetsa, Muncho Lake, Liard Hot Springs, Watson Lake…. Wow, we were having the vacation of a lifetime!

When we pulled into Whitehorse, we had two weeks left. We realized that there was no way we would be able to see everything we wanted in this time so we planned to do another Alaska trip in the future.

We left Whitehorse in the late afternoon after stopping at the grocery store and buying something to make when we got to the campsite.

As we were heading out of town we were involved in a serious car accident.

The lady who struck us was killed.

It was very traumatic for everyone involved. Both my wife and myself were able to walk away from the accident, but our truck and camper were demolished.

Our belongings, if not tossed around in the camper that was laying on its side on the shoulder of the highway, were strewn across the road.

As I stood and looked at the accident, the realization that I was more than 1,500 kilometres from home hit me.

What was I going to do?

I didn’t know where to start.

The RCMP officers were the first to approach us.

Once they new that we were physically out of danger they did everything in their power to help us.

They contacted victim services, which attended the scene almost immediately.

Joanne and Dale from victim services helped us pick up our scattered belongings and packed those retrieved from the camper in their cars.

They reassured us that we would be OK.

They found a hotel for us and then drove us there.

They helped us carry our belongings up to our room and took the time to determine that we were OK.

We were in the Yukon Inn.

Rachel, the girl working the front desk, went well beyond anything expected and insured that we were taken care of.

Her thoughtfulness was above and beyond and greatly helped my wife who was traumatized by the accident.

The girls at Air North went out of their way to help us get all our belongings back home to Chilliwack, BC; the guys at Air North Cargo (I don’t remember his name, but his English accent will give him away) were fantastic.

The waitresses at the Klondike Rib and Salmon BBQ and the waitress at Sam McGee’s, they all made those days after the accident livable.

The Olefsons took us around Whitehorse and showed us the beauty of the Yukon.

Yes we were unable to finish the vacation we had dreamed about for so long, but we would never have had the opportunity to experience what a fantastic, wonderful, thoughtful and human Whitehorse is if this terrible accident had not happened.

You are a city that holds it arms open to those that travel through, to those who find themselves in need.

You are a town that stands apart from so many other cities and towns. Because of this I will always have fond memories of Whitehorse.

I will be back and, like so many others that I met there, maybe its charm will take a hold of me and not let me leave….

I could only be so lucky.

From the bottom of our hearts, Thank you, Whitehorse.

Jim & Pam Briar,

Rosedale, B.C.

Columnist attacks

the wrong side

Gregory Heming raises some interesting issues in his August 23 column, Conservation groups can be counterproductive.”

But, with respect, and although I think we share a similar vision, I find his reasoning hard to follow and some of his charges unfair.

First, while it’s probably true that some conservation and advocacy groups are sometimes “narrow” and “self-serving,” and that a “narrow field of vision” for any enterprise can be counter-productive, I don’t think the case against our local groups is made in this column.

It isn’t clear to me that Yukon Conservation Society or Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society were directly responsible for a chain of events leading to the current government’s election, or for the fact that we don’t have action on protected areas or alternative energy.

I think that would give conservation society and the parks and wilderness society perhaps way more power than a lot of us might wish they actually had!

Second, it doesn’t follow that if a group’s mandate is to advocate for a single issue, their employees or volunteers don’t support other issues too in their personal lives.

And it doesn’t follow that the group and its individuals wouldn’t agree that we also need a profound shift in how we collectively structure our lives and view the world.

Even our “well-meaning and highly educated” advocates won’t achieve success if they spread themselves too thin.

We need to push not for less specialization, but for more synthesis and integration of all of our community’s viewpoints and stakeholders. I think that’s our government’s role.

Third, Heming argues that it’s up to “us” all to take responsibility; and I agree. But I don’t think it’s fair to lay the blame for our false hopes, our temptations, our diversions, and our incorrect thinking on the advocacy organizations and their employees who work extremely hard for unconscionably low pay.

They are in the business of advocating and persuading. What we do with those messages is up to us.

Last, but not least, to the “real cause” of environmental degradation. The causes are probably as complex and diverse as the viewpoints that comprise a healthy community’s dialogue.

But if I were forced to choose just one cause of our environmental problems, I think it would be the sort of thinking that Heming seems to urge in his last paragraph.

I hope that I misunderstood. But if he’s saying that nature is a “garden” and that it’s the role of our species to “cultivate” it — yikes.

If we’re to “embrace” any metaphor and have it as a hope for the planet, let it be the diversity of a wild and healthy ecosystem rather than a managed — mismanaged — garden.

And that, come election day, is definitely up to us.


Deanna McLeod


Award winner

The division of aging and seniors at the Public Health Agency of Canada is delighted to announce that it has won an award from the 15th Annual Mature Media Awards Program.

The program was presented by the Mature Market Resource Centre, an American clearinghouse for the seniors market.

This is a huge win for the division of aging and seniors as the Mature Media Awards is the largest program recognizing the best in advertising, marketing and educational materials produced for adults 50 and up.

DAS’ Safe Living Guide: A Guide to Home Safety for Seniors received the Silver Award in the government publications category out of nearly 1,200 entries.

Each entry is judged by a panel of mature market experts from across the United States for overall excellence in design, content, creativity and relevance to the seniors market.

This is the second international award the division of aging and seniors received to date this year.

In May, DAS was recognized by Help the Aged UK through its Living Legends Awards, for its leadership role both domestically and internationally to increase the focus on seniors and emergency preparedness.

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, presented the award to DAS’ director Margaret Gillis at Windsor Castle.

Congratulations division of aging and seniors, and thank you for working so hard on behalf of seniors across Canada.

Roberta Morgan, Yukon representative,

National Advisory Council on Aging