Letter to the Editor

Larry Bagnell has a kind heart Larry Bagnell is a leader with heart. Two years ago, my son Christopher, who was 10 at the time, did a project for…

Larry Bagnell has

a kind heart

Larry Bagnell is a leader with heart.

Two years ago, my son Christopher, who was 10 at the time, did a project for school on Lieutenant Colonel John McCrea, who wrote the poem In Flanders Fields.

His project was beautiful; trenches were dug with mini soldiers, rows of crosses and poppies and a medical station were all part of the project.

After getting his project back from school, we knew it was too special to just get rid of, so after talking to my son, we agreed to see if the Legion would like to have it for display.

I called the Legion and they were wonderful; of course, they would love to receive this gift from Christopher and they even made sure he could present it on a meeting night when many of the Legion members would be there.

As soon as we arrived, my son saw Bagnell there, and this was the highlight of his night. And Bagnell was wonderful, getting my son to explain the project, having pictures taken with him, etc. It was better than the Hollywod Walk of Fame.

Bagnell made my son feel so special and important that night.

After the presentation, Bagnell again made sure he took the time to thank my son and then asked him if he would like to ride in his car for the Canada Day Parade.

We had planned to leave for the July 1 holidays, but made sure to stay so Christopher could ride with Larry and his fiance at the time. Our MP even made sure to give Christopher his contact information so he could have copies of pictures taken at both events.

I’ve always found Bagnell to be kind, approachable, and that he makes himself available to people. In his busy life as a husband and leader he took the time to make a 10-year-old boy feel that he mattered.

What other kind of leader could we ask for, but one with a kind heart.

Debbie Welch


Conservative slights


Rod Bruinooge, as the MP for Winnipeg South, why are you spamming the Yukon with Conservative propaganda flyers?

Also, are your flyers aimed at a preschool reading comprehension level and attention span because you are operating under the misconception that northerners have a low level of functional literacy, and are easily swayed by two-word slogans?

If you looked at the results of the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey, you would see that the Yukon had the highest average literacy score of all the provinces and territories.

The 2006 Census found that the province or territory with the highest proportion of post-secondary accredited residents was the Yukon. As well, if you visited the territory, you’d likely notice that many Yukon residents have a great deal of experiential learning. Knowing this, would you have littered our mailboxes with your dumbed-down flyers?

Also, if you looked into what our priorities are here in the Yukon, you might have come up with some very different themes and slogans from the ones you targeted with your flyers. Just by looking at the local papers, a few of our priorities would likely jump out at you: for example, economic sustainability, affordability of housing, social justice, First Nation self-government, labour market demand, environmental degradation, quality of life, and the need to find a balance between residential development, resource extraction, traditional land use and wilderness preservation.

Can you see why your flyers are not being received well by Yukoners? Bluntly put, your flyers come across as overly simplistic, poorly researched and even deliberately misleading.

You aren’t doing the local Conservative candidate any favours with your propaganda campaign. As we, Canadian taxpayers, had to pay for your ill-conceived mailouts, I must ask you in good conscience to please stop wasting valuable resources on these flyers.

Rachel Westfall


Local business people have much to learn

Re Faro’s little big store (the News, September 19):

Faroites have killed the business community in Faro.

As a new resident (April 2006), it did not take long to discover the lack of commitment from the population in general.

In my first year in Faro, both our stores shut down and our only gas station went up in flames. Yet, there was no panic; no one seems to care.

A group of people and I started the process of getting a non profit co-op store in the summer of 2007 and, after most of the leg work was done, we could not generate any interest within the general population.

The situation is all too familiar in most communities in the Yukon, and yes, we blame big box stores; however, too many Yukon businesses have taken the wrong approach to the coming of competition.

Many businesses in the territory have enjoyed the status of exclusivity. Besides manning the till, they never really had to work at getting customers in the door. As a matter of fact, a lot of them never had to be nice or helpful, run a special sale, or go the extra mile to try to achieve customer satisfaction. This, in turn, hindered the entire service industry.

When the big box stores showed up, many local businesses were caught off guard, and not knowing how to face the competition, just folded. It was easier than suddenly having to work at the business.

The ones that are still up and running today have embraced competition, took it as a tool to stimulate growth within their own business and went to work with competition in mind. There are also ones who, no matter what, always operated as if competition were across the street.

We all know too well by now that beside the feeling of abundance and cheap prices offered by the big box stores, customer service is lacking, big time.

I am forced to go to Whitehorse to grocery shop because Mel’s has limited produce and no fresh meat. However, I visit Mel’s store at least three times a week and buy as much as possible from him. Mel’s business contributes to our tax base, creates employment and ensures the minimum service needed is kept going.

It is time for Yukon businesses to roll up their sleeves and go to work. Extend courtesy. Go the extra mile and, maybe, customers will start appreciating your new ways. God knows, the big box stores are not about to follow suit.



Fentie spins history

I wish to set the record straight regarding recent comments made by Dennis Fentie (the News, September 22) that I “failed Yukoners” and “failed First Nations” when I quit the Yukon Party caucus to run for the Yukon New Democratic Party in the last territorial election.

Among other things, Fentie said in the article that I “was mandated to proceed with the development of a (land-based) treatment centre.” Although this statement is technically correct, he did not offer me this task until I was putting on my coat and reaching for the door.

It was simply a desperate attempt to get me to stay.

Another reason Fentie dangled this carrot in front of me was because his Health minister at the time was unable or unwilling to move this initiative forward.

Despite his comments in the media, Fentie has had plenty of time to give Yukoners a land-based treatment centre. But we are no closer today to having one than we were when he and his party first got elected. Six years later, there is still no money in the budget, no plan in the works and no timeline in place.

I also want to make it very clear I never quit Yukoners. I quit Fentie and his caucus because their ideas and my ideas about what many Yukoners wanted and needed to rebuild their lives, families and communities differed dramatically.

No matter how much I pushed for more help for people with serious addictions, Fentie failed to listen. Finally, I decided to join a party with core beliefs and values that were much closer to mine.

I also want to note that since joining the Yukon New Democratic Party I have continued to work very hard to advance the causes of social justice and equality. And I firmly believe I made the best choice, both for myself and my constituents.

John Edzerza

MLA, McIntyre-Takhini