Letter to the Editor

It’s time for action Re Landlord, tenants trapped in Slum, published October 24th: I used to work as a court agent in the Provincial Court of…

It’s time for action

Re Landlord, tenants trapped in Slum, published October 24th:

I used to work as a court agent in the Provincial Court of Alberta, small claims division.

I represented many landlords and some tenants with respect to claims they had regarding residential and commercial tenancies.

The Residential Tenancies Act in Alberta is equivalent to the Yukon Landlord and Tenant Act.

The Yukon Landlord and Tenant Act is silent on many issues that are dealt with in other provinces’ and territories’ landlord/tenant legislation.

One example would be the lack of a provision for a minimum length of a month-to-month tenancy.

In Alberta, a landlord who enters into a month-to-month tenancy agreement cannot evict their tenant without “just cause,” such as a breach of the tenancy contract.

In Yukon, a tenant can be evicted without “just cause” after only a two-month tenancy.

The landlord need only provide one full month’s notice, which can be delivered to the tenant the day before the tenant is required to make their second rental payment.

This results in a tenant being forced to move, which financially penalizes the tenant as the cost of moving house is very high.

In many cases, tenants are renting because they lack the financial means to own, and the cost of moving several times a year further marginalizes the tenant.

There is no accountability required on the part of the landlord. No good reason is required.

I believe that there needs to be an amendment to our legislation to allow a tenant a period of 90 days notice to vacate, if the landlord does not have “just cause.”

This is only one part of the legislation that I believe needs to be amended.

I was a little puzzled by Daljeet Dhillon’s resentment at being called a slumlord.

The definition of a slumlord from Merriam Webster’s online dictionary is: a landlord who receives unusually large profits from substandard properties.

If the filthy carpet in the common areas is 20 years old, and if tenants were not properly compensated or housed during the 13-day period where hot water was not available, is that not substandard?

I know that if I had been her tenant without hot water for two weeks I would expect my landlord to have provided alternate temporary housing, until repairs could be made.

If the landlord failed to provide me with the benefits of my rental contract and I had been forced to suffer the loss of hot water, I would demand financial compensation for the services (hot water!) I had paid the landlord to provide.

I would be interested to know how Dhillon compensated her tenants.

I would like to call out to my fellow Yukoners who feel trapped by the landlord/tenant legislation in this territory. I am forming and organizing an action committee for change of the Yukon Landlord and Tenant Act.

If you have had an experience renting in the Yukon where you felt trapped by the legislation, or lack thereof, please respond in confidence to rentingrights@gmail.com.

At the very least, I plan to compile Yukoners’ stories and provide a summary to the legislature, in an effort to have the legislation reviewed and amended.

Erin Giesbrecht

Whitehorse

Not Chicago

Re The get-out-of-jail-free card?, published Friday:

Once again, I am disappointed with the standard of journalism (or lack thereof) exhibited by the Yukon News.

A simple study in the chronology of this case would have revealed there was no relationship between the story published in the previous issue of the News and the court’s decision to grant supervised bail to the man in question.

I would encourage the News staff to investigate the standards of journalism that would bring credit to their publication and perhaps even make a commitment to adhere to the ethical standards of the Canadian Association of Journalists (http://www.eagle.ca/caj/principles/principles-statement-2002.htm).

I can assure the public that, regardless of the inflammatory headlines and articles that have been (in my estimation) recklessly published, there is a very carefully administered due process for determining eligibility for residency at the Adult Resource Centre and bribery is not part of the process.

I am disturbed that the News would craft such a composition of half-truths and cut-off quotes in order to sell papers at the risk of bringing danger to the life of a Canadian citizen.

It was brave of the inmate to give the true side of his experience at Whitehorse Correctional Centre. It is deplorable that the News would follow it up by creating a story that makes the inmate look like he was “paid off” by correctional staff in a perversion of justice, especially when the young man may not be skilled in handling interviews.

I have a distant relative who is a prominent writer for a major Chicago newspaper. After sharing with him some of the “news” the News has published, he could only shake his head and say he or anyone else working for his paper would be fired instantly if they submitted such stories.

Only in the Yukon, eh?

Pity.

Such articles do nothing to alleviate homelessness, suffering or enhance the safety of the community.

Robert Sessford, captain, executive director & corps officer, the Salvation Army

Whitehorse

An elected senator for the Yukon

With the election of Stephen Harper’s second government and his continued preference to appoint only senators who have been elected by the public, Yukon has a clear opportunity to bolster its democratic representation in Ottawa while contributing to much-needed reform of our federal government.

Unlike Canada’s provinces, Yukon has only two representatives in the federal government in Ottawa — one member of Parliament and one senator. It has been almost two years since Ione Christensen resigned her Senate seat, and Yukon has remained underrepresented since. It has been abundantly clear that Harper would prefer to appoint an elected senator, and all Yukoners should embrace this unprecedented opportunity to democratically choose their representative in the upper house.

I urge the public, and all members of the Yukon legislature, regardless of their political affiliation, to work hastily and constructively toward the passage of elected senatorial selection legislation, similar to that passed in Alberta almost 20 years ago, and to hold our first historic Senate election in the immediate future.

Yukoners should take advantage of this rare opportunity to double their elected representation in Ottawa by encouraging their MLAs to support elected-senator legislation.

Darcy M. Tkachuk

Marsh Lake

Advice from Watson Lake

The Rolling Stones put it very aptly when they said, “You can’t always get what you want.”

It seems Veronica Germaine has a choice. She can put up with the situation in Whitehorse Correctional Centre or she can go Outside and get help.

I find it hard to believe that Germaine does not know the difference between right and wrong. She knows it is wrong to abuse alcohol, substances and people. She knows stealing is wrong.

Going out for treatment may very well be an opening to a new life for her, but she will have to take responsibility for her actions.

None of us like to do that.

In an ideal society, the Yukon would have a resident psychiatrist and hospital to treat mental illness. Until we do, there are choices to be made.

I hope Germaine chooses to get the help she needs.

Dale Worsfold

Watson Lake