Letter to the Editor

Police aren’t above the law A Supreme Court of Canada ruling recently put a tight leash on the use of sniffer dogs in public spaces.

Police aren’t above the law

A Supreme Court of Canada ruling recently put a tight leash on the use of sniffer dogs in public spaces.

Police have begun to respond in various locations throughout Canada by saying they will ignore the ruling.

I wonder if this would make a good defence in court.

“I’m sorry, your honour, I know I ignored the law, but since the police are doing it too, isn’t that OK?”

Since when did police become interpreters of the courts?

We have a justice system that is very clear.

We elect lawmakers to write laws.

They appoint judges to judge a situation on its merits and interpret the law.

We then hire law-enforcement officers to enforce the law as it has been written and judged.

We don’t hire law-enforcement officers to analyze the law as they see fit.

If we want to change the law, we elect new lawmakers with new vision.

Granted, throwing a ballot in a box these days seems about as pointless as trying to handle toxic waste with an oven mitt, but the response should not simply be to cast aside the system.

Fixing the system is imperative, but the path to a happy society is not to have police start interpreting the law as they see fit.

This is the path to a much darker kind of society, similar to totalitarian regimes of the past.

Ethan Erkiletian

Saskatoon

Food and fuel

The Yukon News has recently run several articles on biofuels and the food crisis, which failed to emphasize the impact of the record price of oil and gas in this situation.

This record price (currently over $119 a barrel) has a devastating impact on the Third World, and impacts all food prices, including fish and rice, which are unrelated to biofuels. 

Rice just hit a new record high — you can’t grow corn in a rice paddy and no one makes biofuels with rice. 

Your readers deserve the full story on the food crisis and the many benefits of biofuels in alleviating the spike in oil prices. 

We would appreciate consideration of this in your paper.

Thank you very much for your time.

Robin Speer, vice-president public affairs, Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, Ottawa

Paid forward

Pay it Forward is one of my all-time favourite movies.

There is so much for us to learn by watching this movie, even if we’ve seen it numerous times.

Each time I happen to watch it, I am reminded that daily we are all presented with opportunities when we are able to pay it forward or we are in a situation where someone, who has the pay-it-forward mindset, may be right beside you. I was fortunate enough to have experienced this last week.

I took last Friday afternoon off of work to run errands and complete the dreaded task of grocery shopping (before the weekend crowds and lineups).

I time this task with my pay week (every second week) so this is also a more in-depth shop than the weekly “we’re outta’ this and that…”.

As I am wheeling the cart around the corner with as much control as possible, hoping it won’t tip over, I am thinking “how in the world am I going to pack all this and not hold up the customer behind me?” 

Here comes the pay it forward part.

I want to thank this person who was behind me. Although she only had a few items, she put her basket down, and immediately offered to help me pack groceries!

I think my response was a very spontaneous “I love you!” I was so grateful for her help!

I thanked her profusely for her help as we chatted through the process of packing my groceries.

Funny how such a simple act can actually mean so much to someone else.

Well, you know who you are, I know who you are and I just wanted to, once again, say thank you but perhaps with a little more eloquence!

Liane Fedoriak

Whitehorse

Lies and deception

Open letter to Patrick Rouble, Education minister:

We are writing to express our disappointment and dismay at your department’s decision to cut staffing at Golden Horn Elementary School to 12.6 positions from 13.6. 

As recently as two weeks ago, members of our council sat in your office and listened to you ask us “what rumours we had heard about cuts at Golden Horn?” You told us that “no cuts had been made at Golden Horn.”

This message was echoed by your assistant deputy minister, Christie Whitley, in her April 10 letter to parents. 

“There have been no funding cuts to school budgets for the 2008/2009 school year,” she told parents.

Here we are, not three weeks later, being told there will be a cut. 

Disingenuous … dishonest … or just downright disheartening and disrespectful.

In the fall of 2007, we asked that you enlarge our attendance area to include the new Whitehorse Copper Subdivision and other new subdivisions in our area.

You said then that you would study this good suggestion.

About a month ago, we were advised by your senior staff the department had recommended that our attendance area be enlarged to include Whitehorse Copper. 

Now we read in Hansard that you gave direction for a review of the attendance areas — and that the recommendation is to come forward early enough to be implemented for the next school year. 

What happened to the existing recommendation from your department, which we assume was based on sound research?

Perhaps more importantly, it is not clear why staff cuts would be made before the attendance area issue is resolved; at best it seems shortsighted.

Unless, of course, you have already made your decision and, as before, you are just playing political games with our council and parents.

We urge you to direct your staff to reconsider the staffing allocation for Golden Horn so that there are no cuts to the present allocation.

We urge you to work with your cabinet colleagues to ensure that there is adequate funding provided to the department of Education to maintain the 2007/2008 Golden Horn staffing allocation.

Students attending our school have historically obtained among the best results in Yukon Achievement Tests.

It is very difficult to see how reductions in staff – which must translate into to large split classes, reduced teacher attention to individual students with a variety of learning abilities and/or reductions to music, French or learning assistants – can have any positive effect on our children.

For the sake of one teaching position — a mere $100,000 in your billion-dollar budget — you put our children at risk.

You and your government set the funding priorities; these funding priorities should include providing our children with the best education possible.

Golden Horn School Council

Whitehorse

For the birds

Open letter to Canadian Wildlife Service re lethal removal of animals at the Whitehorse International Airport:

I am writing out of concern that the Whitehorse airport officials are killing migratory birds and other animals at the airport.

Not enough is being done to deter wildlife from airport grounds in non-lethal ways.

Airport officials have told me that they use noisemaker devices to deter gulls, except I understand this is only done once in the early spring, and thereafter any gulls and other migratory birds are shot.

This is an unacceptable short-term solution, as more birds always come.

Many other airports around the world are using proven non-lethal deterrents.

They use many different types of deterrents, at different times, on an ongoing basis.

I believe it is the obligation of the Canadian Wildlife Service and airport officials to research and implement suitable non-lethal deterrents.

Aircraft owners who are concerned about potential damage to their aircraft from hitting birds should also participate in improving animal control standards at the airport.

I understand that Whitehorse airport officials also kill ground squirrels, and I disagree with this practice.

I specifically witnessed a dead ground squirrel on the airport grounds, and it appeared to have been shot.

The ground squirrel’s body, left there in the open, was an attractant to other animals such as gulls, ravens and eagles.

This is both cruel and counter-productive, because the airport should be making all efforts possible to remove attractants from the airstrip area instead of compounding the problem they say they are trying to avoid.

I understand that Canadian Wildlife Service has known about this practice for a number of years.

I feel it is extremely negligent on the part of Canadian Wildlife Service and airport management not to seriously address this issue.

I believe it is within your mandate to implement strict standards of practice to reduce or eliminate the need to destroy animals at the airport.

The Canadian Wildlife Service should be protecting animals.

Thank you for giving this important issue your prompt attention.

Mike Grieco

Whitehorse

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