Open letter to Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis:
I have read and listened to the comments you made regarding Parks Canada, the SS Klondike and its Christmas lights. It is not so much in the choice of your phrase that doesn’t reflect the professionalism that should be afforded the office of mayor. It also wasn’t how contradictory those remarks were based on your commitment during your election campaign to bring greater civility to politics that all candidates in some form or fashion articulated as eroding. For me, it was that none of your comments were based on any information gained from Parks Canada itself or my office.
You have the resources and responsibility to obtain the facts prior to making public comments. You also have the resources and responsibility to work with various levels of governments on common concerns and issues. You did not contact my office (as invited by letter dated October 23, 2012) and you did not contact Parks Canada or you would have certainly not made inaccurate comments.
You were quoted as saying, “I’m extremely disappointed with Mr. Leef’s inaction.” Had you taken the time to speak to me directly, you would have learned that I have worked closely and diligently with Tourism Minister Mike Nixon, Public Works Minister Wade Istchenko, Premier Darrell Pasloski, Klondike MLA Sandy Silver, the board of the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon, representatives of the Klondike Visitors Association, the former and current mayor of Dawson City, chief and council of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in, local Parks Canada managers, the CEO of Parks Canada, and the federal minister of the Environment’s office. Hardly “inaction.”
You would have been able to comment about the recent meetings I had with Parks Canada where we presented an array of solutions and presented the unique concerns and challenges in the Yukon. You could have repeated what I was able to report to all Yukoners a few weeks ago; that I feel very positive that we will generate solutions that will meet the needs of Yukoners in respect to these significant historical symbols that not only reflect a proud and rich history, but provide valuable economic support to our communities. You would have been able to avoid making erroneous statements about Christmas lights not being on the SS Klondike due to cuts to Parks Canada.
Mr. Mayor, I found your comments to be unfortunate, unfair, and unprofessional in light of the fact that you made no efforts to seek the facts from myself or Parks Canada.
I invite you to contact my office where my staff and I will respond, in a priority fashion, to any comments, concerns, questions, or solutions you have in respect to federal issues. It is our responsibility to work towards positive outcomes for the City of Whitehorse and our territory.
I look forward to working with you in a more productive fashion in the near future.
Member of Parliament, Yukon