‘Staggering incompetence’

'Staggering incompetence' I will soon be unable to drive legally, as the territory's motor vehicles branch is not allowed to accept anything other than a birth certificate as proof as to the date and place of my birth. This, against all evidence (includ

I will soon be unable to drive legally, as the territory’s motor vehicles branch is not allowed to accept anything other than a birth certificate as proof as to the date and place of my birth.

This, against all evidence (including a photo of my birth certificate with registration number, a long expired passport, a Social Insurance card, a Yukon health-care card, any amount of other scraps one tends to acquire by the time you get to my age, and, most important to me, 38 years’ worth of friends) that indicates I was born when I say I was. Which is May 31, 1948, by the way. All I am trying to do is to renew a 38-year-old driver’s licence.

This is nominally about protecting us from international terrorism and identify theft. This really displays a staggering level of incompetence on the part of the minister. The easiest thing to fake would be a 50-plus-year-old birth certificate.

With one exception, the front line staff at Motor Vehicles have been friendly, helpful and understanding and have let me know in ways (both subtle and not so subtle) that they, too, agree that these petty stupidities are unnecessary, and their body language alone would indicate dismay at having to ignore the obvious truths and cause trouble for those people whom they would much rather be helping.

I have, in fact, never actually seen my “real birth certificate.” I have only a photographic print of it. The person who took and processed the photo definitely had both the abilities and facilities to create a fake certificate. He didn’t. That person was my father who at the time was a master photographer in the RCAF, in charge of the photo lab at Number One Photo Establishment, Rockcliffe Air Station. So when the minister dismisses that photo as proof of my date of birth I feel more than a little frustrated and dismayed.

I was expressing these concerns to some younger friends of mine, all in their late thirties, all born in the Yukon; all of us having enjoyed living in the Yukon about the same amount of time. I took some cold comfort in that they were even more distressed, frustrated, and pissed off than I at all the heavy-handed, petty bureaucracy that, among other frustrations and stupidities, increasingly define the “new” Yukon. It does not reflect the Yukon which I love, and also indicates a profound lack of trust, friendliness, and common sense.

It boils down to this – I don’t like being considered a liar; if the minister doesn’t believe that I was born on May 31, 1948, please prove otherwise. Or have me arrested for impersonating myself these past 65 years.

Paul Read


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