My spouse and I are once again visiting the Yukon for two months and it is with great interest that I read the May 29 Yukon News.
Tourism Week starts June 1, and it was interesting to read the various inputs of why tourism matters. Many stakeholder groups stated why they felt “tourism matters,” but one stakeholder group that did not seem to have a voice was the actual tourists, of which I am just one.
However, I would like to share with you and your readers why I think that one of my perspectives might have significance.
It is evident that Yukoners have a Yukon spirit, and it is this spirit that “tourists” can feel. Beautiful vistas and adventures can be found in many places in the world, but only in the Yukon can one experience meeting a proud Yukoner.
That spirit is what needs to be valued and protected.
Therefore, it is with dismay that I also read in your paper the debacle with Sheldon Miller, who is being charged $20,000 for a medical evacuation.
I must admit that the article left me with more questions than answers:
1) How could a premier (who is paid by the taxpayers) seem to be so arrogant as to totally ignore and disrespect the recommendation of the ombudsman (who is also paid by the taxpayers)?
Apparently, this premier is not only able to disrespect Miller’s plight, but also the ombudsman and the taxpayers to boot. As a tourist passing through I was disgusted and thought how embarrassing this must be for proud Yukoners to have such an apparently disrespectful “Yukon leader.”
It’s like having one’s dirty laundry out there for all the tourists to see.
2) How could the Health minister and the NDP leader have the apparently same disrespectful attributes as the premier?
3. How will proud Yukoners be able to stomach this? How will they be able to sit back and let this happen to Miller? (I suspect that they will be disgusted, as I am, and will want to take action.)
I suspect that they will also remember this apparent disrespect of their ombudsman at the time of the next election. I suspect that they will see to it that Miller does not have to pay the amount and that he receives an apology for the aggravation that this obviously must have put him and his family through.
Anything less from the government is unacceptable!
4) What could Miller have done differently? What if his condition had been so severe that a medevac was the only choice? Should he have had to pay for out- of-territory insurance to work on the Dempster Highway? How many people working in the Yukon, for summer jobs, etc., could be in the same boat? Do any of us really understand why any Canadian isn’t entitled to a needed medevac regardless of where they are in the country?
5) Why are the citizens of the Yukon entitled to a medevac, but not necessarily those citizens residing elsewhere in Canada?
How can the NWT decide not to be responsible for its residents?
How many Canadians are vulnerable and unaware?
Does the Yukon government really think that everyone is so gullible as to think the small population of the Yukon can financially support the kind of services provided, such as medevacs, etc?
Do they think that no one realizes Yukon services are subsidized by citizens in other parts of Canada?
For a territory that is seemingly heavily subsidized, it is my humble opinion that this is indeed an unforgiveable way to “not use the money” coming from elsewhere.
I am certain if the government is bent on stopping the “misuse” of taxpayers’ dollars, it would be better to start within rather than with Miller, who was apparently misinformed by government employees and is, therefore, the innocent victim in this.
One thing I know as a tourist is that the actions on this matter are undermining the image of the Yukon as well as the Northwest Territories.
As a fellow Canadian, I do not want any Canadian to be treated this way.
Shame on the Yukon government!
Shame on other government members in the Yukon and NWT who did not take action to clean up this embarrassing mess.
Tourism does matter. Respect matters more.