letter to the editor339

Clean up the cabs, before the Canada Games I am writing to thank Genesee Keevil for breaking the silence on the rides-for-sex problem in Whitehorse,…

Clean up the cabs, before the Canada Games

I am writing to thank Genesee Keevil for breaking the silence on the rides-for-sex problem in Whitehorse, and to ask that every citizen in Whitehorse follow her lead, and do whatever she or he can to end this practice.

The sexual exploitation of young girls is a serious crime. It should not be tolerated.

Our mayor is wrong to slough the issue off as ‘not a city problem’ and ‘an RCMP issue’.

If the police force isn’t responding effectively to the sexual assaults and attempted assaults against young girls that are a regular feature of our community, the police are not doing their job.

This is a glaring failure: more than finding stolen cars or stopping petty theft, it’s the police’s responsibility to protect our youth from violence.

In October, Canada was hauled up in front of the UN Committee on Human Rights and chastised for the failure of Canadian police to adequately respond to exactly this kind of sexual violence.

The systemic sexual exploitation of girls in Whitehorse is a disgrace: we need to ask some very serious questions of both the police and our mayor.

The dignity, security and safety of our teenage girls IS a city issue.

I can’t think of much that’s more important. For me to feel proud to live in Whitehorse, I need to know that our teenagers — girls and boys —have options to get home safely.

I would like to challenge the mayor, the RCMP, Premier Dennis Fentie, the Canada Games Host Society, and Chris Morrissey (the General Manager for the 2007 Whitehorse Canada Games) to make sure those options are in place before February 24, 2007, when thousands more youth will descend upon Whitehorse for the Canada Winter Games.

I encourage every person who cares about this issue to write or call these people and agencies and ask: that the city implement a six-month ‘night-bus’ trial, to be followed by an evaluation of the trial, beginning no later than February 24, 2007, that Fentie and the territorial government follow through on their January meeting with youth service providers by finding the funding to start up and run — no later than February 24, 2007 — the Safe Rides Safe Places program that these providers have designed to address the ride-for-sex problem that by February 24, 2007, the city follow the lead of other major Canadian cities by putting in place a new permitting program for cab drivers that includes a multi-day training course that the RCMP follow the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Committee and of Amnesty International Canada, and work more closely with aboriginal and women’s groups, and youth groups, to develop better police training and better policing procedures to serve these communities.

If our community has the wherewithal to pull together thousands of volunteers and millions of dollars to host the 2007 Games, surely we can find the small amount of money and undertake the few simple measures that will ensure safe rides home for our teenagers.

Providing safe reliable transit options by the time the Games open is a realistic, attainable goal.

We just need our politicians and our community to get behind it. I encourage everyone to get involved.

Of all the legacies the Games might leave behind, the best and most meaningful is safe streets for our kids.

Shirley Roburn

Whitehorse

Tourism: Canada’s

passport to prosperity

Many Yukoners have greeted tourists or been tourists themselves.

Most of us can thank tourism for our livelihoods, either directly or indirectly, with more than 890 Yukon businesses receiving revenue from tourism.

Still more of us live in communities whose well being depends, at least in part, on visitor spending. And we all benefit from the almost $164 million a year in revenues generated by this industry.

Tourism makes a significant contribution to Yukon’s economy, its standard of living and the quality of life of all Yukoners.

Indeed, you might say that tourism is “Yukon’s passport to prosperity.”

We all play a role in shaping our tourism industry. It happens every day that we help out by giving directions to a tourist, or perform a service such as pumping gas for them.

We all contribute to making the Yukon Larger Than Life. Remember — it’s not just the land tourists come for — it’s the strength of character of the people who live here too!

With that in mind, it’s time to celebrate those who represent us in the front lines.

Gas bar attendants, waitresses, cashiers, and street cleaners; these are the occupations we often miss when we think of tourism.

Take a minute to brainstorm, and find out what other occupations contribute to our representation in tourists eyes.

Without the help of these people in our communities, tourists would not be able to sing praises of the wonderful Yukon people, the vast, beautiful landscape, and the exceptionally helpful staff at the local coffee shop who gave them a tip to try the small fishing hole that wasn’t in their tourist guide.

Let’s recognize these individuals in our towns. They serve an important role everyday, and we appreciate their efforts immensely.

For Tourism Week 2006, let’s do something fun and memorable that will show our appreciation, and create awareness of the fact that we are all in tourism together.

TIA Yukon encourages tourism industry associations and operators to celebrate Tourism Awareness Week!

Gather a group of volunteers, head out to the local grocer and purchase a supply of chocolate bars, ice cream bars, or another type of fun summer treat.

Design and print copies of a small thank you card signed by the Tourism Authority in your area.

Hit the streets and hand out the treats and thank you cards to everyone you can think of that is contributing to tourism! Have a chat, a treat, and enjoy the sunshine while getting out to network and thank the people in your community.

Call your local paper! Call your local radio station! Tell them the news and ask them to follow you around for all or part of the day.

Have fun!

Rick Massie, TIA Yukon

Whitehorse