Today’s mailbox: Cancer costs, Rendezvous, mining ranking

Letters to the editor published Feb. 28

Why did Bagnell vote against supporting cancer victims?

It’s been an eventful few weeks in Canadian politics, so one would hope that Yukoners’ interests are being well represented in Ottawa by our member of Parliament, Larry Bagnell.

Undeniably, the most prevalent issue involves protestors across the country who oppose the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline in Wet’suwet’en First Nation traditional territory, and who have brought much of our country’s essential infrastructure to a halt through an escalating series of protests.

Thankfully to date, protests in the Yukon have been peaceful and respectful, as Yukoners are known to be.

More than one such protest has occurred at our local MP’s office, where Mr. Bagnell was asked to clarify his position on the Wet’suwet’en situation but he said he was unable to comment as he was not briefed on the matter.

Really?

Is it too much to ask that our federal representative is up to speed on the most prominent issue in Canadian politics today?

Then there was the bombshell news that Teck Resources withdrew its application for their multi-billion dollar Frontier mining project in the wake of rampant reports that federal Liberal caucus members were urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to deny its approval.

Was our Liberal MP among those opposing a project that would inject tens of billions of dollars into the economy and provide benefits to affected Indigenous communities while meeting Liberal government environmental targets?

To be fair, issues at the intersection of national resource development and Indigenous rights are complex, so Mr. Bagnell and his Liberal colleagues probably don’t want to risk alienating their party’s base of non-Indigenous urbanites.

The type who believes they know better than the affected First Nation communities’ own democratically-elected leadership.

So, let’s talk about something closer to home, something that touches all Canadians: cancer.

A week or so ago, Members of Parliament debated a motion in the House of Commons that would increase sickness benefits from the current 15 weeks to 50 in cases of severe illness such as cancer.

We all know somebody who has fought this terrible disease, and what a terrible toll it can take on victims and their families, and the passage of this motion would bring some small comfort to them and help ease their burden.

Yet every single Liberal member voted against it, including Mr. Bagnell.

Why on earth would Larry Bagnell vote against helping cancer victims?

Is his loyalty to Justin Trudeau more important than the suffering of his constituents?

Thankfully, the last election saw the Liberals reduced to a minority, and as such the combined might of the opposition benches won the day and the motion passed.

One can only hope the next election will see the Liberals expunged entirely.

Jonas J. Smith

Whitehorse

Uncertainty is inhibiting our industry’s ability to grow

As organizations representing the Yukon’s mineral exploration and development industry, the Yukon Producers’ Group and Yukon Chamber of Mines are dedicated to ensuring that our territory’s founding industry continues to provide prosperity and progress for all Yukoners.

However, growing uncertainty in the Yukon’s project assessment and permitting processes, and delays in delivering public infrastructure investment is inhibiting our industry’s collective ability to provide opportunities and benefits to Yukon communities and Yukoners.

As such, we were extremely disappointed to see these concerns reflected and confirmed in the recent release of the Fraser Institute 2019 Annual Survey of Mining Companies.

Within this international survey ranking jurisdictions’ global competitiveness, the Yukon has dropped from to 9th to 23rd in investment attractiveness.

This is terrible news for Yukoners at any time, but particularly so as the survey results were released on the eve of arguably the world’s largest mining convention, PDAC, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, being held in Toronto in a matter of days.

These troubling figures unfortunately send the wrong message to the international financing community, in an environment in which Yukon operators are competing with projects from around the world to secure investment.

We respectfully urge the Yukon Government and its partners to heed our industry’s repeated advice to address matters related to uncertainty and timelines associated with the YESAA, mine licensing and water licensing processes, and ensure infrastructure commitments, such as the Yukon Resource Gateway Project, are delivered without further delay.

Samson Hartland

Executive director

Yukon Chamber of Mines

Amanda Leslie

Co-project manager

Yukon Producers’ Group

The Rendezvous air display really soared

Hats off to Rebecca Laforge and her legion of volunteers and donors for for bringing the air display at the Whitehorse airport back, once again, for this year’s Rendezvous.

With 11 military aircraft and more than 2,500 local folks taken in the display, it has to show the Rendezvous people that the Whitehorse folks want more outdoor, free, family events and not expensive stage shows.

People there said Whitehorse hosts one of the best and friendliest military air displays in Canada and that they all hope to return in the future.

Let’s hope Rebecca can overcome the headaches of dealing with all the problems of financial, government, airport, city and military restrictions to grow the air display back to its rightful place in the hearts of the people of Yukon — all with the help of her unpaid volunteers and local donors.

Jack & Myrna Kingscote

Whitehorse

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