Yukon letters

This week’s mailbox: a critical look at critical minerals, an open letter to first ministers

Let’s take a critical look at the supposition that we can frack our way to climate solutions.

In advance of the 2022 geoscience forum and trade show, Casino president Paul Wells wrote that if the world is going to avoid climate catastrophe, “we need a boom of renewable energy” to support our transition from fossil fuels. That means we urgently need critical minerals. To power the mines that are going to extract the raw materials needed to solve the climate crisis, LNG is touted as the lowest carbon option available.

A critical look at LNG, liquified natural gas, must account for methane. “Methane, the main component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas with 86 times the heating impact of carbon dioxide over a 20-year span — in other words, a super pollutant that has enormous short-term impacts on our climate” according to the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, leading the campaign (https://www.unnaturalgas.org/).

When you account for methane escapements from extraction on to final use, LNG is a climate disaster. Using LNG is counter-productive to the stated goal of avoiding climate catastrophe. Rather than helping us avoid climate catastrophe, LNG accelerates our progress toward it.

There are proven viable diverse renewable energy options. To proponents of LNG, we have so many questions, here are just a few:

* Are you aware of successfully implemented wind projects in the north like at the Diavik Diamond Mine, NWT, or Raglan Mine, Nunavik?

* Are you aware of the current costs of all renewable energy options like solar, wind, micro-hydro, and biomass compared to diesel and LNG generation costs which are currently over 20 cents per kWh for regular customers (as cited by Minister Streicker recently)?

* To reduce the total greenhouse gas emissions of the mine, has the Cassino project commissioned and considered comprehensive cost benefit analyses that include wind and other site specific viable diverse renewable options to LNG?

* What regulations and government supports would make it worth your while to do a cost benefit analysis of renewable options?

* What industrial-scale models or arrangements, like large scale renewable energy Independent Power Production agreements, might suit extractive companies and their shareholders?

It’s critical to account for carbon and methane emissions related to the production of critical minerals. If the goal is to avoid climate catastrophe, the mining of critical minerals must be powered by renewable energy sources.

Tory Russell,

Yukoners Concerned

Joint call to address Canada’s health care crisis

Dear First Ministers:

Health care is in crisis in every province and territory in Canada. On behalf of Canada’s doctors, we are writing to urge you, as First Ministers, to chart the path out of this crisis with commitments to significant funding increases, pan-Canadian collaboration and accountability to patients.

Together, as the national and provincial-territorial medical associations, we are disappointed that meaningful commitments to pan-Canadian collaboration and increased health care funding did not emerge from the recent health ministers’ meeting in Vancouver. Every day that passes without an agreement between governments is another day Canadian patients are left waiting unreasonably long for the medical care they need.

Our medical associations have long called for increased health funding from the federal government to provincial/territorial governments via the Canada Health Transfer. We remain deeply concerned that the federal share of health funding is projected to decline in the near-term, as provinces and territories face unprecedented challenges and increasing health care needs.

However, federal and provincial/territorial governments must collectively ensure that new and increased funding delivers improved health care for Canadians. Canada’s doctors are gravely concerned that patients are experiencing increasingly longer wait times, lack of access to primary care, cancelled procedures, delayed diagnostics; all indicating negative trends in access to health care in Canada. It is clear that both increased funding and new investments are needed.

On behalf of Canada’s doctors, we respectfully urge First Ministers to advance meaningful action for the patients of Canada. The gaps in our health care system are growing wider with every day that passes without the necessary political leadership to address the growing crisis. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how we may collaborate on the need for new funding and action to address Canada’s health care crisis.


Dr. Alex Kmet, Yukon Medical Association

Dr. Ramneek Dosanjh, Doctors of B.C.

Dr. Ian MacNiven, Northwest Territories Medical Association

Dr. Candace Bradshaw, Doctors Manitoba

Dr. Fred Rinaldi, Alberta Medical Association

Dr. John Gjevre, Saskatchewan Medical Association

Dr. Michèle Michaud, New Brunswick Medical Society

Dr. Alika Lafontaine, Canadian Medical Association

Dr. Krista Cassell, Medical Society of Prince Edward Island

Dr. Leisha Hawker, Doctors Nova Scotia

Dr. Rose Zacharias, Ontario Medical Association

Dr. Vincent Oliva, Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec

Dr. Kris Luscombe, Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association