Looking out for Yukoners, like Nielsen

Looking out for Yukoners, like Nielsen In my 40-odd years living in Yukon, politics has not been my thing. Frankly, I find the competitive nature of our political process offputting. When I first came up here in 1970, we didn't have political parties a

In my 40-odd years living in Yukon, politics has not been my thing.

Frankly, I find the competitive nature of our political process offputting.

When I first came up here in 1970, we didn’t have political parties and this for me worked much better with greater respect for those we were electing, and also, they for each other.

It was in 1972 I attended a meeting hosted by Erik Nielsen. One of the things he said caught my attention.

“If you are concerned about the direction of your society, get involved.” So I did Ð with Nielsen.

We became friends at the time, and I ended up being his manager for a period.


Well, what impressed me about him was he spoke his truth without ego.

His priority was always what he honestly felt was best for his Yukon family.

In the time I spent with him here, or when I was occasionally with him in Ottawa, he was direct, clear but always unassuming. He seemed to carry his own authority. That was just the way he was.

Now, in a very real way, I see these rare attributes in Elizabeth Hanson that I did with Erik and, as I also did, with Audrey McLaughlin.

Almost above political wrangling Ð speaking out for what she (Elizabeth, or as she’s better known now, Liz) feels is best for her Yukon family.

As an example I have been greatly impressed with her and her staff’s selfless efforts to stand up for Dr. Xiu-Mei Zhang when our local medical board revoked her licence to practise here.

Another example that impressed me was again a selfless effort to help that young girl who had raised herself out of the ashes, but who was sadly sent back to corrections because her adopted family could no longer afford to keep her.

No other party or politician made any effort at the time, that I am aware of, in these two case examples.

So, it is these simple selfless and compassionate acts that I saw in Erik Nielsen and I also now see in Elizabeth Hanson, a rare commodity indeed within our existing and often childish political gamesmanship, and it is this that has tempted me to make this public comment.

I’m giving credit where credit is well earned.

Michael Brine,


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Most Read