letter to the editor285

Time’s up! Re upcoming Whitehorse election: I must agree with Carole Bookless in her latest letter to the editors regarding voting in an all…

Time’s up!

Re upcoming Whitehorse election:

I must agree with Carole Bookless in her latest letter to the editors regarding voting in an all new mayor and council. But I’d like to add some reasons.

The council has chosen not to make difficult spending cutbacks by simply raising taxes every year.

Even more contentious, the council has raised utility (water, sewer and garbage disposal) fees every year even though the city already collects more than 100 per cent of the costs to operate and maintain these services.

The present council has placed basic infrastructure upgrades on hold, while spending more and more money on the arts, the sports, aesthetics, the waterfront, special-interest groups, more bylaws/more enforcement, etc.

And, last but most important, the present mayor and council have failed to place drinking water quality and availability on the top of their priority list.

Dave Stockdale (although I know you are dedicated and hard-working) hang up your soccer shoes and let new vision into our city decision-making.

Retire Dave Austin!

Doug Graham (although in my opinion you ask the toughest questions, keeping the city management accountable) you have far too many irons in the fire to make decisions on development issues, which are a prime city responsibility.

Ernie Bourassa, six years are long enough to implement your vision as well.

So…

Out with the old, in with the new!

Roger Rondeau, president Utilities Consumers’ Group, Whitehorse

Only three candidates respond

Re upcoming Whitehorse election:

The McLean Lake Residents Association would like to thank Dave Austin, Bev Buckway and Jeanine Myhre for responding to our questions on heavy industrial development near McLean Lake.

Here’s a summary of what they wrote:

Dave Austin

I support quarry development in the McLean Lake area and responsible development.

I support allowing both sides of a project every opportunity to present their views to council. 

I am committed to further consultation regarding development around the Sleeping Giant.

I will insist on all possibilities of controlled development being investigated in regards to emissions, noise, hours of operation, water use, etc.

I will commit to developing a long-term quarry plan for land within the city.

Bev Buckway

I would rather see industrial developments, such as quarries, kept to one area, rather than spread around the city.

I will commit to meeting with YTG to discuss air-quality regulations.

Water must be tested in accordance with all regulations.

Water testing, following environmental procedures, and ensuring that city staff are current on the latest technologies on water safety are priorities. 

Residents will be invited to be part of the OCP review in 2007.

A Community Engagement Framework is underway that will assist the city in consulting with the public more effectively than we have seen the past three years.

A quarry inventory was done in recent years as part of long term planning for the city.

I support updating the resource inventory if new information would be gleaned.

Jeanine Myhre

Heavy industry should not be located near residential or commercial areas.

Whitehorse has enough space to plan these projects so they do not interfere with living space.

Industrial projects should meet current environmental requirements on air and water quality.

Incentives should be made to encourage companies to go beyond the minimum.

All affected neighbourhoods should be consulted as to their concerns and opinions.  These are the people that will have to live with the decision. 

Future heavy industrial sites should be determined and zoned before these projects come up.

An area accessible to the highway but away from current and future residential and commercial development should be created for heavy industry.

By keeping residential and heavy industrial zones separate now, we will avoid future problems. 

Alternatives should be identified for any project.

The other candidates did not respond.

Bob Kuiper

McLean Lake Residents Association

An apology

Open letter to Genesee Keevil:

I am writing in relation to your article, entitled Good thing they didn’t lose, that appeared in Friday’s Yukon News.

The Yukon Party prided itself on running a very high level, ethical election campaign.

While emotions may have been running high during the evening of the election results return, threats of violence and intimidation are never acceptable in a democratic society. If these incidents occurred as stated in your article, I would like to offer my apologies to you, Richard Mostyn and the Yukon public on behalf of the Yukon Party.

Such conduct is totally unacceptable and cannot be condoned in any way.

Dennis Fentie, Yukon Party leader

Whitehorse

What did Keevil expect?

Re Good thing they didn’t lose:

As someone who attended the election results evening with the Yukon Party, I can understand how you would have been disturbed.

However, what did you expect?

You definitely are not the reporter to be angry at, but it sounds like you don’t read your own paper.

Elections are serious democratic rights, and when we have editors abusing their powers as editors they are destroying our democratic right.

Had they done this to another party, you could have expected the same treatment.

No this not Russia, this is Canada where we do not expect fixing elections.

You have it backwards.

Your journalistic rights weren’t trampled, the public’s rights were.

You should have been warned before you came to the Yukon Party camp.

Richard Mostyn knew only too well what he had done.

And, yes, you are right — I don’t know what would have happened had the Yukon Party lost.

I know the Yukon News would have been held to blame for much of it because no one really knows the effect.

It’s not just about winning or losing.

Most people come to terms with losing if it was done fairly.

Even though the Yukon Party won, it doesn’t sit well with people, ethically, when they know what was attempted.

And it will only happen again and again if it is simply blown over as journalist rights.

Shirley Ford

Whitehorse

Whaddya expect?

Open letter to Genesee Keevil:

Did you honestly expect a warm welcome at the Yukon Party victory celebration?

After Richard Mostyn’s editorial the Friday before?

You already had your story before you arrived and, in typical Yukon News tradition, it was slanted and negative.

To suggest that you suffered any kind of harassment or abuse is ludicrous.

What is equally offensive is your attempt to draw a parallel between yourself and those frontline journalists that place themselves in danger every day in order to report the truth.

Shame on you!

Let’s set the record straight. I did not “grab your arm,” I advised people that you were representing the Yukon News and, therefore, whatever was said to you would be inaccurately reported.

You failed to disappoint, yet again.

Cynthia Kearns

Whitehorse

Freedom of the press?

Re Good thing they didn’t lose:

As a new Canadian citizen, I feel it is my right and my duty to voice my opinion when I feel a grave injustice has been done.

And this is how I feel about the shocking and dismaying behaviour displayed by certain members of the Yukon Party toward Yukon News reporter Genesee Keevil on election night.

What are we to make of a government that allows — even sanctions and performs — such intimidation and abuse?

What has happened to the fundamental right of freedom of the press?

What a sad state of affairs it is when a reporter is bullied and harassed, as Keevil was, because her editor had the audacity to print his opinion (clearly stated as such) on the front page of his paper.

Must everything printed from now on be sanctioned and cleared by The government?

On one hand, I want to congratulate Vickie Durrant, Elaine Taylor, Brad Cathers and Glenn Hart for at least treating Keevil as a human being.

On the other hand, I wonder, “Why did you allow the abuse to continue unchallenged?”

It seems to me that, when one enters the political ring, one must be aware of the fact that his/her work will be observed and criticized by many — especially the media.

To demonstrate such defensive — no!  offensive! — behaviour tells me that this party must have tremendous feelings of inadequacy.

Five more years of this?

Wow. I can’t wait.

Mary Sloan

Whitehorse

Bullies back in

Re Good thing they didn’t lose:

While you were spending the Thanksgiving long weekend with loved ones, feasting around a nice dinner of turkey and yams, getting ready for winter, hauling fire wood, hunting or taking advantage of the fantastic run of Coho in Haines, not paying much attention to politics, the schoolyard bullies moved back in to the Yukon legislative assembly with a majority that could last another five years.

The thin veneer of decency wore off quickly as the election results rolled in and the true nature of the “Yukon Party Gang” came through loud and clear, first with Archie Lang’s juvenile remarks about the people who had had the audacity to challenge him in his riding: “I wiped the floor with them — I don’t know why they even bother to run, they’re just fillers.”

And then they wonder why citizens have so little respect for politicians, when they can’t even show a modicum of respect for those who seek office.

Then there’s the whole disgraceful performance at the High Country Inn by a whole brochette of alcohol-fueled bullies — including some cabinet ministers — harassing a female journalist and making threats of violence on the editor of a local newspaper.

All the talk about dealing with the child-care crisis and providing a respectful government was just that: talk.

In the end, we returned the party that — over the four years they were in power — failed to provide decent pay for child care workers, conducted a pogrom on their employees with the computer-use investigation and failed to bring in whistleblower legislation.

The bullies will have the run of the place for the next five years.

It’s going to be a very long five years!

Jean-François Des Lauriers, northern regional executive vice-president, Public Service Alliance of Canada

A lack of grace

Shame on you Archie Lang!

Your comments about wiping the floor with the candidates who ran against you are not becoming an elected official.

The men and women who let their names stand for election certainly have given it much thought and consideration before they have agreed to do so.

In letting their names stand, they became a part of our country’s democratic principle as it gives more people an option when they go to the polls on Election Day.

Your comments were ill thought out.

For instance, did you think about the 53 per cent of your constituents who actually voted for these candidates?

Being an MLA is not just taking care of the people who voted for you, but taking care of everyone in your riding.

I believe you should apologize to these candidates for your appalling comments especially since they are not just filler.

They are citizens of this territory and, as such, deserve to be respected.

Further, given the statements made to our local reporter at the Yukon Party victory celebration by some of your supporters, I believe it is high time that you, Dennis Fentie, reined in this behaviour of some members of your caucus and members of your Party. (See letter above.)

It would be a step in the right direction to try and regain respect for politicians and begin garnering respect from all Yukon people.

Does anyone in your group know the word “gracious”?

Kathy Hanifan

Whitehorse

Winners and losers

Re Good thing they didn’t lose:

Driving home from Haines, Sunday, I was basking in the thought of how amazing it is to live here.

I arrived home, picked up Friday’s Yukon News and read “Good thing they didn’t lose”: the article describing how Genesee Keevil, reporter for the Yukon News, was treated by some Yukon Party candidates and supporters.

Several descriptors ran through my mind, but disbelief was the most prevalent.

I still can’t believe it. Well … I can. I just don’t want to.

Abuse is the most appropriate word I can find to describe what happened to Keevil last Tuesday night at the High Country Inn, as candidates and supporters were waiting on election results.

Now, I find myself wondering what kind of leadership the Yukon Party can give us and what kind of example they will be for our youth.

They have demonstrated how they treat those who disagree with them: They throw their party weight around by belittling, intimidating and threatening them.

Kudos to Vicki Durrant, Yukon Party candidate, who demonstrated character amid the chaos. I’m sure there were others who followed suit.

Unbelievably, the Yukon Party seems to need a reminder that we live in a democracy where freedom of speech is not just tolerated; it’s embraced.

They also need a wake-up call: freedom of speech ends where it assaults the rights of others (uttering threats).

I echo Keevil’s concerned statement: Good thing they didn’t lose.

On the other hand, it’s possible to act like losers even when you win.

Jo-Anne Holmes

Via website

Tough gig

Re Good thing they didn’t lose:

It took incredible strength and courage for Genesee Keevil to write this story and submit it for print.

While a reporter/writer will be assigned a story — there is always one waiting for them.

They have to attend the event and do the interview.

Then they have to be open to it, to sit with it, to allow it to find them.

Sometimes it comes quickly, sometimes it is the one you thought you came for, it screams at you, and other times it is more sedate.

Being insulted, grabbed by the arm, watching people being manipulated … I’m sure this story came fast and furious, yelling (like drunks) in Keevil’s ear.

While she went for a story about the election results and perhaps to showcase winners at their moment of glory (“See Yukon Party Trounces its Opponents” on October 11), giving thankful, thoughtful responses; some failed to showcase what “winners” they really were. 

They failed to give her the story they could have.

They … stopped campaigning.

Party handlers might have managed the climate/atmosphere differently.

People who were drunk or out of line might have been whisked away.

Alcohol is not the issue here.

The issue is bullying.

It’s one that, I’m sure, would not have been a factor had Keevil’s tall, handsome partner been with her.

Bullies are really cowards.

There is a need for redemption here.

The readers at large have read how a Canadian reporter, a woman, was treated in her own city on election night at a gathering of the Yukon Party.

I challenge the Yukon Party to invite and pay for Barbara Coloroso, author of The Bully, The Bullied and the Bystander, to come North and give a speech.

It could invite the public at large to see them in attendance.

Coloroso is an awesome speaker, and this one important gift they would first give themselves would sustain them over the next four years. It would also create awareness for everyone about our roles as bystanders in a situation of bullying.

This would be an intelligent, brave redemption.

This letter comes with my own personal warning.

Just before the next election, any candidates from any party who come to my door had better be prepared to give me their address.

While they can try to tell me who they are, I’d rather ask their neighbours who they are every day.

I will ask the media what kind of encounters they have had, firsthand, with this person … they are, after all, people looking to represent us.

You don’t want to mistreat a writer. You just might read about yourself in the newspaper.

And if you think you are off the hook because you are only a bystander, think again.

Silent bystanders empower bullies.

This piece was written in the spirit of that famous line by Voltaire — “I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”

This is Canada, after all.

H. Daniel

Whitehorse

Keep your opinions to yourself!

Re Richard Mostyn’s article “Imagine Tomorrow and Sweat!”:

The Yukon News made a brutal attempt to influence this election. It went completely over the line.

Is it right to print an editorial the Friday before the election on the front page encouraging people not to vote for the Yukon Party?

I wonder how some of the people in Porter Creek South feel considering the riding was determined by only six votes?

Richard Mostyn said ‘We’ have decided that the Yukon Party does not deserve a second term.

Who is ‘we’?

Are Yukon News employees and reporters required to vote in a block?

Or is he speaking about himself and the owners of the Yukon News, with their cozy ties to the Liberal Party.

There’s a glimpse of their idea of ethics and accountability.

Fair and balanced reporting during an election should be expected for the good of the Yukon.

I wonder how the many small business people must feel who voted for the Yukon Party.

They continually spend hundreds and thousands of dollars advertising in the Yukon News.

They have to because the Yukon News has a virtual monopoly into the communities.

Through past governments, The News has secured sweetheart advertising deals for government ads (taxpayer money).

Go figure.

They are using your private sector and your government taxpayer advertising dollars to push their political agenda.

Your own money is working against you.

The Yukon News has made its bed during the election, now they are going to have to lie in it.

Imagine tomorrow Mostyn, and sweat, because hopefully it will be with a lot less advertising dollars from the small-business sector. 

If the Yukon News is so intent on substantially influencing the outcome of an election, maybe the owners or the editor should run in an election or work hard for a candidate of their choice, like decent people do in a democracy.

Ford Farms

Whitehorse