Open letter to Environment Minister John Edzerza:
I was disappointed to hear your response to questions in the legislature on Monday regarding ATV regulation in the Yukon, and would like to address some of your comments.
You stated, “It’s not a new issue; it’s something that is best regulated by the individual.”
Up until now it has been left to the individual. The evidence is there to show that has not worked either in the Yukon or in other jurisdictions.
You stated: “As an individual, I have always been interested in the environment. I have always had respect for the environment. I never once had to have any government write out a document or a piece of paper to tell me how to respect the environment. Maybe that is something that should be focused on more here than any regulation: education Ã education on how people need to start respecting the environment.”
I commend you on your environmental stewardship, Edzerza. Obviously, legislation would not apply to you as you are already respecting the environment. However, we have heard, repeatedly, it is only a small group of ATV users causing the problem. You indicate you are not part of the problem, Edzerza, so regulation would not really change anything you do. If it would only apply to those individuals causing the problem, why are you against it?
You stated, “Mr. Speaker, one issue I know would be of very grave difficulty would be to police people in all areas of the Yukon Ã in the valleys, on top of the mountains and everywhere else about how to ride an ATV.”
Just because something is difficult to do, or cannot be completely monitored, does not mean it should be ignored. It could be stated that poaching also takes place in the valleys, on top of mountains and everywhere else. However, there are regulations and legislation in place to discourage poaching. Does poaching still occur? Is there a deterrent to would-be poachers? Can you imagine the situation if there were no regulation or consequence?
You stated: “I think everyone who owns one and wants to ride one needs to get busy and start learning what it means to respect the environment. Thank you.”
Perhaps you, as someone who respects the environment, could be a leader in this by assisting in the drafting of legislation and regulations so those who do not respect the environment are given a reason to respect their territory.