letter to the editor324

Remember the copper rush An anniversary as important to Whitehorse, and all Yukon, as any other in history is upon us and very few are aware of it.

Remember the copper rush

An anniversary as important to Whitehorse, and all Yukon, as any other in history is upon us and very few are aware of it.

We all know of the Klondike Gold Rush, the commencing of construction of the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad and of the paddlewheelers — but are we aware of an event that occurred on July 12 of that year?

This event started a chain reaction that would, over the years, produce thousands of tonnes of minerals, millions of dollars in revenue and create employment directly or indirectly, for thousands.

It would change the transportation hub of Whitehorse rapids to the permanent city of Whitehorse.

One word: copper!

While in Circle, Alaska, John McIntyre (from Pembroke, Ontario,) and William Granger (from Kentucky) heard a tale of rich outcroppings of copper, seen by someone who had been hunting about 6.4 kilometres northwest of the Whitehorse rapids.

And so, while thousands of gold-seeking stampeders were rushing on to the Klondike, these two men set out to look for copper.

We often think of what the Klondike stampeders went through on that horrendous trek to Dawson and the goldfields, but can you think of the hardships encountered or stamina required to pole up-river against the current of the mighty Yukon at flood in June?

Well that is exactly what McIntyre and Granger did. And they succeeded in their quest, found copper and staked their claims: McIntyre named that first claim The Copper King.

Beside it Granger staked The Copper Queen. The official recorder date was July 12, 1898.

Through the fall of ‘98 and the spring and summer of ’99 more than 1,000 claims were staked along the Whitehorse copper belt, covering an area from just north of what is today the Fish Lake road, south past Mt. Sima — more than 259 square kilometres.

When the White Pass and Yukon Route rail line reached Whitehorse in 1900, there was already ore to be shipped.

From the King alone, nine tonnes of bornite dressed out at 46.4 per cent of copper.

Haul roads were built, mines developed, and eventually a rail spur line.

Whitehorse was transformed forever. And that’s how it began July 12, 1898.

D.R. (Dave) Layzell

Miles Canyon

Historic Railway Society

Humane law needed

Re Animal Protection Act doesn’t protect much, July 7:

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies was dismayed to read Dr. John Overell’s comments on the amendments to the animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code (last known as Bill C-50).

He is correct in stating that the current law has no teeth. But other remarks he made about Bill C-50 perfectly illustrate the misinformation surrounding this issue — the main reason the legislation has yet to pass seven years after it was originally introduced in Parliament.

Bill C-50 would certainly not have rendered agriculture illegal, nor would it have deemed people to be animal caretakers instead of owners as Overell indicated.

Overell mistakenly believes that the bill would have made it illegal for farmers to kill healthy animals.

In fact, Bill C-50 explicitly protects animal use activities — farming, fishing, hunting, trapping, etc., — that are conducted within the accepted standards of those practices, by the term ‘lawful excuse.’

The vast majority of Canadian farmers would have nothing to worry about with this legislation and, in fact, have been strong supporters of previous versions of Bill C-50.

The bill would have removed crimes against animals from the property section of the Criminal Code, and placed them into their own sections — not because people would no longer own their animals (in fact, the bill continued to include the word “own”) but because the majority of Canadians would agree that animals are quite different from other property, like a car or a table, and should be treated as such.

Bill C-50 was not a radical piece of legislation: It simply updated a 114 year old outdated law, and ensured this section of the Criminal Code better reflected today’s values.

Canadians would continue to own their animals, and farmers, hunters, fishers and trappers could continue to practise their activities.

It should be noted that a private member’s bill (Bill S-213) to amend the animal cruelty section of the Criminal Code has been introduced in the Senate and is awaiting further debate in the fall.

Unfortunately, this bill does not propose the crucial changes that might allow the conviction of animal abusers, like Jim Foesier, as Bill C-50 did. The CFHS, therefore, does not support Bill S-213.

Tanya O’Callaghan,

communications co-ordinator,

Canadian Federation

of Humane Societies