Regarding positive experiences with police
I am writing this letter in response to the commentary I read in the Yukon News, dated April 22, in the Opinion column. [Defunding the police promotes safety by Kevin Walby.]
Professor Kevin Walby, who is a criminal justice professor in the University of Winnipeg, has an interesting take on defunding the police, and alternatives to safety.
First, it is ironic that this opinion piece was published at the same time when a standoff led to the arrest of a person and an officer getting stabbed in Whistle Bend, Whitehorse. Also, more ironic is the report, which is also published in the same edition, from the commanding officer of the Yukon RCMP which states an increase in crime in the Yukon in the 2020/21 fiscal year. The Government of Yukon declared an overdose emergency earlier this year, but the only action I noticed from declaring that emergency is have a webinar on mental health. People trading illicit substances are well aware of what they are doing, and more cunning than the consumers. It takes effort to not get into the police radar.
I am a BIPOC person, and the reason for me stating this is that professor Walby in his opinion piece commented that the topic of police is not a luxury to debate for many people who identify as BIPOC. I have many stories to share on how the police have provided services to me and my family in their capacity.
This incident happened around December 2021; it was a regular December weekend in Whitehorse and to wind down the day, I decided to grab some savories from a local store. I had a bit of a tailspin while entering a parking lot. My passenger side rear slightly touched a parked vehicle’s driver side rear. I could feel the jerk being in the driver seat and immediately turned back to see what damage this caused. I saw the red taillights still bright in both of our vehicles and sighed with relief. I jumped out of the vehicle to see what else was the damage. To my surprise, there was not a dent or paint mark on the other vehicle — the tail spin was not drastic, it was slight, but due to ice on the road I couldn’t control it. Double relief, that I don’t have to get insurance involved! My vehicle took a dent and I was okay with it.
The driver and passenger of the vehicle that I touched, jumped out and at the same time started yelling profanities at me. I understand it is shocking to be hit, especially that they were parked and were at no fault. I apologized and at the same time told them that there is no damage to the vehicle thankfully. The profanities didn’t stop, the person pulled out a note and pen from her vehicle and demanded my insurance information.
Now I understand that in the Yukon, police do not need to get involved if there is a minor accident and insurance can deal with it. If you notice my previous sentence, I said that the person demanded my insurance information. She was not willing to give hers, and so I refused to give mine. She flared up and said she is going to call the cops. I said , “Please do, I can deal with them and not you.” The cops came, did their thing and sent us on our way. In the process of calling the cops, she stated this; “If you had only given your insurance, I would not have called the cops.” I am glad the cops came and dealt with her rage. She did not have her vehicle registration which is a whole different topic.
Me and my family have travelled around the world, and you would have read or watched news about a ghastly rape in New Delhi, India around 2012 where the victim died after being admitted to the hospital. My wife and I just got married earlier that year, and did a vacation in New Delhi. We were glad to see increased police presence in the city after that heinous crime. As young couples, we definitely had our concerns.
When our children were just under two and four years old, we decided to take a trip to Israel. We stayed in Bethlehem, which is predominately Palestinian controlled city. Being tourists, we were cornered by street hawkers, asking us to buy things from them (bunch of fridge magnets). Try walking with 2 young kids and a bunch of men come and surround you. I can fight back and would have fought back, but the consequences of my action kept my rage under control. One hawker sees my wallet over my shoulder and says you have money, please buy these things from us and call it a day. Police came and dispersed them, because at that moment I was talking louder than I should.
With the tourism season looking to swing back to at least somewhat like pre-pandemic levels, I’m sure tourists and passerby will be more comfortable seeing cop presence around the town, knowing that they are safe and don’t have to worry about vehicles getting broken into while parked at a motel or hotel. Just has how the word defund should not be looked in a negative way, the word police should not be looked at in a negative way either.
National day for truth and reconciliation in the Yukon
So, Yukon Government is suggesting having Sept. 30th become a (paid) holiday in the Yukon, in recognition of the abuses to First Nations people at residential schools called National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (TRC). This is already a paid holiday for government.
So, any First Nations people including First Nation Governments that have paid staff in the Yukon or if you own a small business with staff, you would now be paying staff for this new paid holiday.
If government forced First Nations to go to residential schools, (we know they did), many children were abused at these schools including my dad, and many children died, why would a First Nations person want a (paid) holiday to recognize this day?
Why not have Sept. 30, that special day, as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in the Yukon? But instead of Yukon Government employees (Public Servants) getting that day off with pay, they work that day, and their wages are donated to go into an annual TRC trust project fund for the First Nations people. Their wages would give something back to First Nations people.
Keep in mind that we have a statutory holiday called the National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21st.