Letter to the Editor

And corporations shall lead us Open letter to Premier Dennis Fentie, Your recent response to my news release urging you to stay away from the…

And corporations

shall lead us

Open letter to Premier Dennis Fentie,

Your recent response to my news release urging you to stay away from the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement between Alberta and British Columbia was very revealing.

First of all, it confirmed what I have long suspected:  that your government has secretly been considering joining this corporate-driven trade pact for some time. It’s too bad you haven’t let Yukoners in on the secret before now.

I can assure you, Mr. Premier, that I am not the least bit confused about the negative impacts of TILMA. Personal insults don’t strengthen your argument.

Let me put it bluntly. TILMA is not about addressing labour shortages, or improving access to health care, as you have tried to imply.

It is about giving corporations the right to challenge the authority of provincial, territorial and municipal governments to enact laws and policies for the benefit of their citizens.

It is about giving a non-elected dispute resolution panel extraordinary powers to override decisions made by elected officials who are answerable to the people, and to impose crushing financial penalties if a government decision is seen to restrict the rights of corporate investors.

TILMA is not a benign little deal between provinces and territories. Anyone who remembers the failed Multilateral Agreement on Investment, will recognize TILMA as the same wolf in a slightly different sheepskin.

It is part and parcel of the movement for deep integration of economic and security policies across the North American continent.

At the same time your government is contemplating joining TILMA, Prime Minister Harper is huddled behind closed doors in Montebello, Quebec, with the presidents of the US and Mexico.

Under a blanket of secrecy and exceptionally tight security, they are there to hear 30 corporate CEOs tell them what they should do in order to (in Mr. Harper’s words) create a more competitive North America, through the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership.

It’s not rocket science to predict that pursuing an international corporate agenda will result in lower environmental and labour standards, and will almost certainly jeopardize Canada’s public health-care system.

Before you take the Yukon down a path we may all live to regret, I challenge you to take the following steps:

Find out exactly why the Government of Saskatchewan decided TILMA was not in that province’s best interests;

Find out why municipalities and regional health boards in British Columbia are mobilizing in opposition to TILMA;

Conduct an open and frank dialogue with municipal and First Nations governments about how TILMA would affect them;

Give Yukon people all the facts about TILMA, not just those being promoted by the Conference Board of Canada, the Fraser Institute and the Canada West Foundation;

Let all MLAs debate the issue openly and thoroughly in the Legislative Assembly.

You claim that, What’s good for Canada is good for Yukon, and what’s good for Yukon is good for Canada.

If there is nothing to hide, and if TILMA is really good for Yukon, surely you won’t object to those five basic — call them democratic, if you will — steps I’ve just outlined.

Todd Hardy, MLA

Leader, Yukon NDP

Farmers get short-shrift

In the July 20 issue there was a good letter by Al Falle, of the Yukon Agricultural Association, dealing with a senseless court decision favouring a First Nation over farmer Larry Paulson.

Claims of negative effects of farming on wildlife and environment are common in the Yukon. I personally experienced this when I was prevented from acquiring a 65-hectare addition to my North Forty farm north of the Junction airport.

As a result of not being able to develop a hay farm of sufficient size to have a viable operation I had to sell out.

I’ll state some of the problems as follows for the benefit of future farm applicants.

The Agriculture Land Application Review Committee makes its decisions based in part on local input, in this case Kluane Regional Management. Their input was false to the point of being bizarre.

They claimed I’d jeopardize the fish in Pine Creek. They had no clue that the parcel applied for was several miles from Pine Creek and that there were not even any fish at all in my adjacent creek.

They claimed that moose cows with calves use the timber in the parcel for cover, yet they registered no objection to the fact that the parcel had already been commercially logged.

They further claimed wood-cutting lots in the area even though a check with forestry at the time indicated not a single private permit had been issued that year in the specific parcel.

They further claimed that I would have ‘conflict between moose and crop storage.’ Moose don’t eat hay! Although soil tests on my existing property had proven good, the Agriculture Land Application Review Committee chose to claim that soil in the adjacent area was ‘inadequate based on mapped data.’ Later field inspection confirmed good soil.

Ultimately my application was rejected on the strength of the Haines Junction regional biologist’s claim that agricultural land development in my area would have ‘a negative impact on the moose population.’

When I asked the local MLA why hunting was permitted in such a sensitive moose habitat, he came up with the lame justification that “people have a right to hunt!”

I said, “Farmers have a right to farm.” This terminated my attempt for his support. I knew where he stood.

My advice to potential applicants of agricultural land is: Beware of local committee inputs. They may reflect personal agendas, biases, negativity, laziness, or simply ignorance of what farming is all about.

Merle Lien

Haines Junction

Thank Tuton

Instead of criticizing Craig Tuton and the hospital board about Michael Aeberhardt’s termination we should be thanking them.

This issue with the CEO has been going on since February of this year, and the board, particularly Tuton, got involved at a hands-on level.

This is a characteristic not often found among board members in any organization, and I think it is a shining example of why the Yukon is such a great place to live.

In the end, Tuton and the board determined that hospital staff and doctor concerns about the CEO were apparently valid, and Aeberhardt’s contract was closed.

Hopefully the unity among the doctors and hospital staff that was created by Aeberhardt’s reign will continue but in a healthy and positive direction, which will enable the hospital to become one of the best in Canada instead of the worst.

Although the medical industry is very short of people, our hospital only has to be better than most to attract good staff. After all, who wants to work in a dysfunctional organization?

Richard Runyon

Via e-mail