Short term memory, long term problems

Short-term memory, long-term problems Hopefully, the recent announcements from government regarding a resumption of cabin burning and a new tender process are only designed as distractions from embarrassing past political issues, and will be withdrawn s

Hopefully, the recent announcements from government regarding a resumption of cabin burning and a new tender process are only designed as distractions from embarrassing past political issues, and will be withdrawn shortly after election day.

Community Services Minister Archie Lang will not be running this time, but no doubt will be doing everything possible to ensure his Yukon Party is re-elected.

He is likely trusting that electors will be too preoccupied with other events such as sports, recreation or many other matters to take much interest in past political issues.

Perhaps most will just vote along party lines, or for candidates they feel are popular people.

It should be remembered that Soapy Smith, Conrad Black and many others of their kind were once thought to be great guys as well.

In keeping with the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” and under a shroud of secrecy, Lang has successfully helped shape Yukon government affairs for the past nine years and he certainly doesn’t want voters reminded of any past government scandals.

With an election on the horizon, this is probably the main reason he decided on an early retirement for his former premier Dennis Fentie, and to keep him out of sight until the election is over.

In this regard, you may recall that, despite repeated denials by Fentie in 2009, he was able to conceal negotiations to privatize our Yukon Energy Corporation with Alberta-based ATCO from members of the Yukon Energy Corporation board and the general public for more than seven months.

And you may also recall, it was just four years ago that cabinet approved a $2.83-million notional seniors’ housing grant to the Liard First Nation specifically designated to purchase three of his own Watson Lake hotels.

He was able to keep this deal a secret, so it was only following a complaint by a local First Nation elder in need of housing that the truth about this questionable transaction was finally made public two years later.

As to political distractions, the release of a new YTG contract tendering process on August 12th allowing contractors to submit bids by means of the internet has, to date, failed to arouse any commercial or public interest.

It will just make it easier for YTG administrators to manipulate the tendering process should they wish to extend patronage to government supporters. You only have to review the Whistle Bend and former Watson Lake hospital contracts to realize what has been taking place. Whatever became of those good old days when tenders were received in the form of sealed bids, and opened only in the presence of the contractors or the general public?

If Lang seriously intends to destroy more wilderness cabins he should first clean up the remnants and broken glass left behind at last year’s burning sites.

And his insistence that all trapline cabins must be covered by leases and subject to annual fees and inspections was obviously made without prior consultation with the industry.

This policy is both unreasonable and unaffordable for most trappers, particularly when fur prices are low.

Give them a break and leave those old cabins alone, at least for the time being. Their very existence could very well mean the difference between life and death for trappers, bush pilots or other wilderness travellers. In extreme conditions they might have to depend on whatever may be left of them for warmth or shelter in ways not understood by government policy-makers or their officials.

Donald E. Taylor

Watson Lake

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

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

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

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read