Tragic deaths bring back memories

Tragic deaths bring back memories First, my apologies to the family and friends of the Rusk family and their boarder, Donald McNamee. This was a perfectly preventable tragedy but as usual, the government doesn't do anything until someone dies. Reading a

First, my apologies to the family and friends of the Rusk family and their boarder, Donald McNamee. This was a perfectly preventable tragedy but as usual, the government doesn’t do anything until someone dies.

Reading about John Matheson’s frustrations brought back memories from 25 years ago regarding a similar situation. At the time, the shysters in Whitehorse were masquerading as TV repair people. Since this business is no longer viable, they moved on to be computer repair techs and, obviously, oil burner mechanics.

That year there were a pair of fires caused by improperly repaired equipment. Luckily no one was hurt. But in the interests of public safety, the service shops got together and proposed to the government that techs be licensed and only qualified techs be allowed to do repairs, like with electricians.

I was one of the representatives of our group and two of us had a meeting with a minister. I can’t remember who it was but he was a real minister of a department. Everyone in our group was impressed.

After we met the minister, we were lectured as to how the free-enterprise system was the best for weeding out bad service people. That if the government got into regulating every kind of business, where would it end? That in this minister’s opinion, there was already far too much government interference in business and the government can’t be expected to do everything. That the consumer had to do their own research to determine who was best qualified to do the work. We were then sent packing.

Luckily, I’ve never heard of any more disasters caused by badly repaired electronics. But what this shows is the intense intractability of the government when it comes to balancing public safety with their own political beliefs. Safety loses every time until someone dies and the government has to act to save face.

I think a carbon monoxide detector is a small expense but the governments have chosen not to put this piece of equipment on the required list for all houses. I guess requiring landlords to purchase detectors would price rentals so high that no one could afford to live there.

I do love when Sgt. Don Rogers said no foul play is suspected and the RCMP don’t anticipate laying any charges. A badly running and/or improperly repaired appliance could arise from negligence. If this happened in a mining camp, Workers’ Comp would be all over it and the company or individuals responsible would be charged, including the repair technician.

I do wonder how a renter is expected to make sure that the landlord keeps the furnace up to snuff.

But I guess we can’t interfere with free enterprise. Buyer, or in this case, renter beware.

Condolences to all.

Hoby Irwin

Whitehorse