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LETTERS: Requesting a mandate exemption for religious gatherings, trying to engage with the government


Trying to Engage with the Government

In response to the Wednesday, Nov. 10 Yukon News Article “Yukon Declares State Of Emergency.”

In the last paragraph of the Yukon News article Sandy Silver says, “If you disagree with the policy, fine, take that up with me.” This really hits the crux of the problem.

Many Yukoners, myself included, have reached out to Sandy and the other Liberal members countless times. We have written clear and concise questions. These questions with answers would possibly alleviate our concerns. One of two things typically happen when a letter is written. Most typically we receive no response. The second is a response that repeats the rhetoric and gives no direct response to our questions.

So, Mr. Silver. Would you consider coming to one of the protest rallies, (Saturdays, 1 p.m. at Shipyards Park) and answering questions? I think people would greatly appreciate the consideration of their leader being willing to listen and respond. I also fully release the Yukon News to give you my personal email and telephone number, although you should already have them. This is so I can be a responsible, civil citizen and “take it up with you” For the record I am absolutely saddened and frustrated at the amount of abuse that is occurring on both sides of this debate. So it seems we may be in agreement on some issues.

We are your constituents as well. Despite released numbers we the “Mandate Concerned” seem to be well over 30 per cent of the Yukon.


Bernard Briggs

Dear Premier Silver,

We understand that the past two years have been difficult for all Yukoners in leadership roles, whether working for government, the private sector, or in the faith community. As faith leaders in the Yukon, it has been especially challenging since the Nov. 8 State of Emergency announcement. (#21-444) Specifically, the faith-based gatherings measure, whereby the government has mandated proof of vaccination for participation in corporate worship.

The public was provided with a report of “80 new cases”, but not supplied with information on how many cases were children or vaccinated adults, then followed with strict mandates that infringe on one’s freedom to worship. How can we communicate with our congregations and chart a course of action, when we don’t have all of the facts? Furthermore, during this pandemic, places of worship in the Yukon have not been a source of virus spread. In British Columbia, only 3/1000th of COVID cases were attributed to churches. Therefore, BC included worship gatherings as essential services. (BC Gatherings and Events Order, October 25, 2021, Section U, p. 3) Why did the Yukon exclude them from essential status?

Furthermore, last week’s mandate neglected how important faith gatherings are to the well-being of our community. By grouping faith-based gatherings (worship services) with cultural events and other extra-curricular activities, there is a failure to acknowledge the importance of faith gatherings for the spiritual, emotional and mental well-being of individuals. We believe it was a misstep, as we enter the darkest time of the year, to isolate physical health as the only factor to consider when creating these mandates.

Jesus Christ said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden…” (Mt. 11:28) How can we follow Jesus and then turn people away at our doors? As faith leaders in this community, some of us serving for over 30 years, you have placed us in an extremely difficult position. Perhaps without realizing it, you have driven a wedge between theological, or at least philosophical tenets of our faith, a segment of our congregations, and submitting to government officials. This proof of vaccination mandate is forcing us to choose between our calling of faith and our territorial government. We are desperate to avoid this choice if at all possible.

Therefore, we urgently request the reversal of this mandate, as it pertains to how churches must check vaccination status before an individual is allowed to freely worship, or we ask that faith-based gatherings be shifted to an essential service, as has been done in British Columbia. Our health does not depend on this particular aspect of the mandate, but our freedom to worship does.

Yours sincerely,

Mountainview Church

Church of Nazarene

Bethany Church

Northern Canada Evangelical Mission

First Pentecostal Church