On leadership: “The biggest challenge will be how you treat your own people.” Chief Clarence Louie.

On leadership: “The biggest challenge will be how you treat your own people.” Chief Clarence Louie.

Straight Talk…

I found out, on the weekend, why Canadians in the East are often uncomfortable out West.

Westerners, especially the older ones, have stepped in BS as kids and they never forget it. They recognize it as soon as it is spoken.

Eastern talk, strikes me as being like French cooking: there’s a sauce for everything.

 “For me,” to quote the legacy-man, the most annoying talk-sauce is the “We in the East know what’s best for the West.” Attitude-sauce. That one pops up regularly like a seal coming up for air.

 “Some minds are like concrete — all mixed up and permanently set,” is the straight talk western description.

Westerners have an annoying habit of cutting to the chase too quick, hence halting conversation and killing chances for another free cocktail, eh?

“My first rule of success is ‘Show up on time.’ My second rule for success is follow rule number 1.” Chief Clarence Louie.

Straight Talk 2 …

There isn’t an epidemic of straight talk — yet; though we can live in hope.

Here’s a door opener to the subject. A sheriff in Arizona runs a jail. “This isn’t the Ritz/Carlton, if you don’t like it don’t come back,” he told the prisoners who moaned and groaned when he cut coffee, smoking and dressed them all in pink — pink everything from shorts to shirts.

Their complaint about living in tents in the desert heat while working was met with, “It’s 120 degrees in Iraq — our soldiers are living in tents too, and they have full battle gear. They didn’t commit any crimes, so shut your mouths!”

 “Our ancestors worked for a living, so should you.” Chief Clarence Louie.

Straight Talk 3 . . .

My favourite, and my nomination for straight talking man of the year, comes from Osoyoos, BC. He not only talks the talk, he walks the walk.

He’s a celebrity in Canada, my kind of celebrity. Not wrapped in TV clips and money mouthing inanities, a man wrapped in his word, and his actions. “Our ancestors worked hard for a living,” he’s quoted in many pieces about him, “today life is as complicated or messed up as you make it.

“To improve your quality of life, you either go to school or get a job. Words without action, excuses and blame leads to more welfare, dependence and poverty. It’s hard work making money that improves one’s standard of living and provides for community social needs.”

He describes himself as “a stay-at-home chief who looks after potholes in his own backyard, and wastes no time fighting 100-year-old battles.” 

He’s a man who lives his own straight talk: Osoyoos Band chief Clarence Louie. He’s more than a breath of fresh air; he’s like the Chinook wind after a long, hard cold spell in mid-winter.

One of our measures of success in Canada is numbers. Try these on for size: the Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation was declared bankrupt in 1986.

Today the community of 434 people is completely self-sufficient with zero unemployment, and workers coming from 13 other nearby bands helping to run its nine companies, which employ 1,000 people running a golf course, ski-resort, a vineyard, a world-class winery, together contributing $40 million to the local economy.

It seems its corporate motto is lived to the letter: “In business to preserve our past by strengthening our future.”

All that, and the icing on the cake is its reputation. “Their word is their deed,” says the CEO of its corporate partner in a new four-star spa with this the ultimate compliment.

 “Any time we can kick D.I.A. out of our business we do it.”  Chief Clarence Louie.

A smack of Omphaloskepsis …

I couldn’t find my luggage at the airport baggage machine so I went to the lost-luggage office and told the woman my bag never showed up.

She smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and I was in good hands.

 “Now,” she asked me, “has your plane arrived yet?”

Remember she’s a voter too, which might solve another mystery for us.

A tip of the hat to straight talkers — men, women and children, although children need not be included, they already are straight talkers. I wonder where, why and how we lose it along the trail?

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

Just Posted

Dawson the dog sits next to the Chariot Patrick Jackson has loaded and rigged up to walk the Dempster Highway from where it begins, off the North Klondike Highway, to the Arctic Circle. (Submitted)
Walking the Dempster

Patrick Jackson gets set for 405-kilometre journey

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read