letter to the editor321

Pipeline will impact Inuvialuit Re: Aboriginal MP warns that money can’t buy happiness (Yukon News, July 10): I wholeheartedly agree with MP…

Pipeline will impact Inuvialuit

Re: Aboriginal MP warns that money can’t buy happiness (Yukon News, July 10):

I wholeheartedly agree with MP Wally Firth that the proposed Mackenzie Valley Pipeline (MVP, ironic really) would be a social disaster for Inuvialuit beneficiaries.

However, his comments barely scratch the surface of the irreversible impacts the pipeline could have on Inuvialuit society, the traditional way of life and on the ecology of the Delta.

As Firth states, the potential financial benefits are far outweighed by the social costs.

To allow the mistakes of the past to be repeated would be unforgivable, and the impacts of the MVP stretch far beyond simply attracting southern workers, and an influx of drugs and alcohol.

Camp living is a way of life for oil and gas development.

Having a parent, and sometimes both parents, away from home for two-week periods each month has already led to family distress during the exploration phase in the Mackenzie Delta.

Children are often left unsupervised or under the supervision of a completely unsuitable friend or relative.

The impact of the sudden increase in household and community incomes often can result in binge drinking and access to drugs.

I don’t intend to label Inuvialuit beneficiaries irresponsible, it’s simply that the shock of sudden change is often too much to handle — and there is too little social support or education available.

Hunting, and indeed access, would be severely restricted within the oil fields. The MVP is a huge project and, if realized, would result in many hectares of tundra being off-limits to Inuvialuit hunters.

The projected route takes the pipelines close to Husky Lakes, an important traditional hunting and fishing area.

It will be difficult for many hunters to gain access to the lakes, especially during the multi-year construction phase. What price a traditional lifestyle?

Pipelines need to be continually assessed and surveyed 24 hours a day, even those built underground

Helicopters have a devastating effect on wildlife and these are the most common method of reconnaissance.

The accompanying facilities are often large and noisy and will impact wildlife movements.

The industry often argues that caribou “like” oil patches as they can provide respite from mosquitoes and the equipment exhausts help keep them warm in winter.

It’s surely obvious however that anything that upsets natural animal behaviour or movements should be avoided? 

My biggest concern however is the lack of accurate information reaching the beneficiaries.

The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation has been advocating for the MVP development from the beginning without, in my opinion, telling beneficiaries the full story.

It would be unrealistic to expect industry to outline the possible social and environmental consequences but it’s surely the job of the IRC to keep its people informed.

As a former land management officer with the Inuvialuit land administration, I saw very little objective consultation from the IRC.

Many residents of Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik were not aware of the potential disturbance to their way of life.

To date, I have seen little in the way of meaningful and accurate reporting.

If the Inuvialuit really want a pipeline then that is for them to decide.

But please let their decision be an informed one. For all our sakes.

Jim Taggart

Via e-mail

Animal abusers in suits

Animal violence. Animal cruelty. Animal abuse. Animals massacred. Animals shot. Animal bloodbath. Heinous act to animals. Cold-hearted act. Callous act. Heartless act. Ghastly act. Inhumane treatment.

These words are all too familiar to Yukoners these days. They rise, again and again, in the media year after year.

Yukoners got a wakeup call on May 21st 2005, when the Yukon Party government, along with Yukon Energy Mines and Resources (which includes agriculture), Environment and the game branch, participated, in one way or another, in the reindeer massacre.

Where was the humane society?

Today, people continue to pass their condolences to us for the loss of the animals.

They are speechless the Yukon Party government committed such a heinous act.

Their arms around me, they say, “ I just don’t know what to say. Everyone knows it was wrong; common sense prevails, and we all know that the massacre of the reindeer was a political decision. We are sorry.”

Here is something to ponder. Is it any wonder that the dogs were killed in Dawson, or Yukon for that matter?

Is it any wonder that dogs were shot by their owner?

We think not.

There was a precedent set for him to do just that.

We know one of several MLAs who condoned the reindeer massacre lives in the Klondike riding.

How ironic.

What does he have to say? Or the rest of the Yukon Party for that matter?

Is there any wonder the Yukon Party government has not addressed this dog-killing disaster?

Someone kills his dogs so that no other person can have them. This parallels the government’s answer to the reindeer.

The reindeer endured 20 some hours of being shot at.

The reindeer were moving targets throughout the massacre. Blood spots two to three feet in diameter prove just that.

Four baby reindeer were only hours old, and were bludgeoned to death.

Were the dogs dispatched one by one away from the view of each other, or in full view of each other?

Were any of the dogs bludgeoned to death?

Did the reindeer suffer less because they are reindeer and not dogs?

This is not an acceptable behaviour, and all people who are cruel and abusive to animals should be punished — all people, including politicians and bureaucrats.

Cruelty to any animal by any one person is unacceptable behaviour, and that is where the humane society’s focus should be, not on individual chosen cases only.

How can anyone speak up with promise to bring legislation to prevent cruelty to animals when they themselves participated in a massacre.

The Yukon Party literally gunned down its own credibility in this area forever.

Here are two charges that the government was successful in implementing, somewhat like the pot calling the kettle black.

1)    The government had the audacity to charge a person under the Wildlife Act for meat wastage of a few pounds of moose meat left behind in the river. Wow.

Let us reflect a moment — did the Yukon Party government not dump, yes dump approximately 4.5 tonnes of healthy grain-fed reindeer in the Braeburn landfill?

Did the government not claim the reindeer to be wildlife?

2)    Did the government not charge persons with the offence of firing shots to kill an animal (a moose) within a kilometre of a residence?

Yes it did.

A Yukon government lab technician on May 21st 2005, while massacring 56 reindeer, discharged a firearm repeatedly within 300 to 400 metres of two residents and within 22.5 metres of the Klondike Highway on the Victoria Day holiday weekend.

 We do not condone what Jim Foesier did to his dogs. We do see the parallels.

Animals need laws to protect them from people of all walks of life.

 

Stel and Tim Gregory

Whitehorse