Over past months I have forwarded a number of letters to you, speaking both on behalf of myself and most of the residents of Watson Lake.
I would like to express our sincere gratitude to you and the staff of the Yukon News, as well the media in general, for publishing these letters informing your readers and thereby the general public, about some of our regional issues and concerns.
Many of these have application in other parts of Yukon as well. As you are now aware, Watson Lake has been beset with a number of very serious problems and deficiencies for some time now. Many of these are a product of government indifference or neglect.
Our long-standing requests for sewer and water infrastructure funding, current issues regarding the impending hospital transfer, and our nationally recognized education deficiency are just a few of these.
Most small towns have a small hierarchy of influential persons, and this often inhibits residents for speaking out publicly about local issues without a subconscious fear of subsequent intimidation.
Dear editor, you may be assured that I do listen, and as a Yukon citizen this is a roll I am obliged and honoured to fill. I am of the old school, and 60 years ago when as a young man I hitchhiked into Yukon, I found an open, honest and responsive government, along with a contented electorate.
In contrast we now have a seemingly unresponsive government, cloaked in secrecy, displaying an apparent indifference to many genuine needs of the people it was elected to serve. And there is little prospect for change, at least until the next election some years away.
Our government has little to fear from the legislature, but it does recognize that there is strength in numbers, and an informed public is not to be ignored.
For example, that is why current education problems in some rural communities would never be tolerated by Whitehorse parents! They would certainly be protesting on Main Street if that was to ever occur.
That is why as journalists, your role is this process is so exceedingly important and widely appreciated, not only by the residents of Watson Lake, but by all the citizens of Yukon.
Your investigative reporting, observations, and willingness to publish letters of individual and collective regional concerns, assures that democracy is still very much alive here in Canada and our beloved Yukon, and for this we are all truly grateful.
Donald E. Taylor