letter to the editor313

Missed the boat Re Fort Selkirk is closer than you think (The News, August 4): Big River Enterprises has had two 1.2- by 2.

Missed the boat

Re Fort Selkirk is closer than you think (The News, August 4):

Big River Enterprises has had two 1.2- by 2.4-metre signs out on kilometre 429 of the North Klondike Highway (plus additional signs at the entrance to Minto Resort and our own operation) advertising our daily six-hour return trips into Fort Selkirk from May to September, for the last 15 years.

The author, Graeme McElheran, either does not venture outside of Whitehorse (the centre of the northern universe), or he just hasn’t noticed the signs on a section of highway where there aren’t any signs for many miles.

He obviously also did not bother checking with Yukon Tourism, or any Yukon visitor reception centres.

Neither did he speak with Tourism Minister Elaine Taylor (prominently pictured atop his article, yet not quoted) who has been a visitor.

McElheran claims that Fort Selkirk can only be reached by paddling a canoe or chartering an airplane.

Not so, as we have been providing this service by comfortable motorboat from this “bend in the road” (it is called Minto and is a historic site in its own right) for 15 years!

To provide this kind of service in a relatively remote area is a challenge at the best of times, and this kind of ill-researched article is frustrating.

Oh, and the number of troops sent from Ottawa in 1898 was 200, not 2,000.


Heinz Sauer, Big River Enterprises,



A plea for responsibility

Re: Staff shortage (The News, August 4):

It appears that the “Yukon’s service and tourism industries are facing a dwindling supply of workers…” says reporter Tim Querengesser.

There were “275 summer jobs at Westmark’s Yukon properties” alone.

The questions remain: How much of the Yukon’s job market is absorbed by transients?

What percentage of the population of able-bodied persons are receiving benefits from Social Services and Employment Insurance, not being engaged in any kind of employment? (Bureaucrats ought to outlaw unnecessary unemployment.)

With these many jobs and the rate of unemployment that exists in the Yukon, one wonders why there should be this great demand for workers.

Yukon’s unemployment rate as of June 2006 was 4.8 per cent — 800 persons from the age of 15 and over formed the control group that accounted for this rate-of-unemployment. (These figures are according to the department of Economic Development.)

When I walk the streets of Whitehorse and see many of the unemployed doing little to improve their lives toward becoming responsible citizens, it infuriates me to think that I am paying taxes to support these lethargic individuals.

Taxpayers ought to hold the bureaucrats to task. We are forced to pay taxes to support these people; the money is better left in our coffers and its use to our discretion.

Never at any time have I seen the amount of opportunities and services available to individuals to improve upon their skills and to assist them in finding employment as I have seen in the past decade — yet, the same individuals, year after year, are found to be idle.

Many are not held to account for their illegitimate life-styles that they persist to indulge in.

There are also services available to help these individuals deal with their addictions and other non-beneficial habits.

I believe that the community has a responsibility toward supporting the sick, the disabled, the fatherless, the widows, the aged and the genuinely poor.

I believe that the fathers have the responsibility to meet their family’s needs as he is able. Maintenance enforcement, hear it!

You don’t hold fathers to their reasonable responsibility; you impose burdens too heavy for these men to bear.

On family matters, a mother with young children ought to be able to stay at home and raise her children while being supported by the community.

There is no greater occupation than that of a mother. Children need the care of their mothers (and fathers). Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, workers and parents.

Another matter, the lack of responsibility that parents show toward their children, infuriates me. Both parents work to acquire more material goods and pursue their personal interests, as they leave their children to strangers, siblings and other children to care for them.

Children do better in the care of their parents, grandparents, and other adults (good neighbours).

Institutionalizing children does not give children “quality care.”

The day-care generation has surfaced; children are in the care of strangers and an assembly of their peers for many hours of the day to their detriment.

Maturity does not come from immaturity; a sense of security does not come from being with strangers.

As the children become peer-oriented (rather than adult-oriented) through institutionalization, the children become powerless and handicapped in their ability to function in their community (observe the activities and attitudes of the youth of our day).

And, as the home becomes institutionalized through government bureaucracy, the heads-of-the-home, too, become powerless and handicapped in the leading and the nurturing of their children.

It’s time for the heads of homes to assert themselves and take back the responsibility that is theirs: being leaders of their homes and parents to their children.

As adults become responsible, the community and the economy will flourish. As adults become responsible, their self-esteem will flourish.

As adults assume responsibility for their children, homes and families will flourish. Flourishing families will produce flourishing communities.

Flourishing communities will curb the ill-will that comes from neighbour to neighbour. Flourishing communities will remedy anything that threatens its existence and harmony.

Flourishing communities will eradicate the abuse of our social systems and not tolerate undue unemployment.

Ken Besler