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Wednesday, December 06, 2000

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Raven's rule

It's time to sit down and talk turkey with the ravens.

These reckless pranksters are responsible for not only shorting out Yellowknife's electrical system with frightening frequency, but creating static in our electrical generation and distribution family. With every outage, customers are calling up Northland Utilities to complain. Northland fires off a press release trashing the NWT Power Corporation.


In our Election 2000 results (Yellowknifer, Nov. 29) results in the ridings of Norman Wells, and Fort Smith were wrong. Ethel Blondin Andrew received 122 votes in Norman Wells and 382 in Fort Smith. Dennis Bevington received 55 votes in Norman Wells and 346 in Fort Smith. Yellowknifer apologizes for any inconvenience this error has caused.

The Power Corp. blames the weather (God?) and the ravens, offering to string the equivalent of an extension cord to Alberta which would triple the rates but fix the problem.

Higher rates are out; God is even bigger than the Power Corp. That leaves ravens. What choice do we have but to deal with them? With so many experienced negotiators in town, surely someone is up to the challenge.

A sit down lunch at the dump would be a good place to start. The guest list should include the presidents of both Northlands and NWT Power Corp., their lawyers, and of course key influential ravens.

Menu would be dump a la carte, dress would be black business suit and tie. Walt Humphries would make a most discreet Maitre 'D. Yellowknifer, as always, will be hovering about waiting for titbits of news.

Besides a ravenous response to all the finger pointing, the result should be increased cooperation between Northland and the Power Corp. and a general willingness to find solutions.

The goal of course, outside of saving us from the tyranny of our black feathered neighbours, is to use all that brain power provide Yellowknifers a secure source of electrical power without losing their shirts.

Proper channels

It should surprise no one that an international mining company will use all available resources to get what it wants.

That much was revealed in the letters Gordon Sage, a Rio Tinto Mines senior executive, wrote to Roy MacLaren, the Canadian High Commissioner in London.

Rio Tinto, the majority shareholder in the Diavik diamond project, was concerned that last winter's construction season would be lost to a decision by Robert Nault, minister of Indian and Northern Affairs.

Nault said the project would not proceed without an environmental agreement. When it was signed and the necessary permits issued, Sage wrote to thank MacLaren for his help -- whatever that was. There is no evidence of anything sinister in this -- just a corporate citizen using channels that are open to all.

Safe havens

March 13, 1996, and April 20, 1999, are dates of two of disasters that made everyone stop and think about safety in our schools.

The parents of 16 children killed at Dunblane elementary March 13, and the parents of 14 Columbine high students killed at school April 20, now live with the pain of those tragedies everyday.

Being prepared for school disaster, whether it be injuries, suicide, fire, shootings or bombings, may mean the difference between life and death, and the NWT Department of Education is taking no chances with students and staff.

NWT Educators met in Yellowknife last week to establish emergency strategies for all schools and identify community resources available during a crisis.

NWT parents can breathe a little easier knowing educators are making a safe haven for students.

Auxiliary unit a no-brainer

Editorial Comment
Darrell Greer
Kivalliq News

Giving the stamp of approval to the formation of a Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Unit in Rankin Inlet should be high on the new council's list of things to do following the Dec. 11 election.

The program is a win-win situation for the hamlet and the entire region.

First, the creation of an auxiliary unit means our marine search-and-rescue (SAR) members will be better trained.

Second, the insurance available to an auxiliary unit is a definite bonus.

Search and rescue operations can be dangerous and sometimes, as tragic and unfortunate as it may be, things go wrong.

The insurance would be a comfort to SAR members who take out their own vessels in precarious conditions in an effort to save lives.

And while no one ever wishes to be in that situation, it would be comforting to all marine SAR members to know there is some sort of assurance in place to look after their families should tragedy strike.

With hopes of having 15 units across Nunavut during the next few years, including at least two more Kivalliq communities, Rankin Inlet has the chance to get in at an early stage and set a precedent.

Walking the walk

You have to hand it to Nunavut member of Parliament Nancy Karetak-Lindell -- she's a quick learner.

Our Kivalliq MP said all the right things during her election run and exhibited a keen willingness to listen.

This, despite knowing the odds of her being defeated in the recent federal election were higher than those of the Montreal Canadiens winning the Stanley Cup this year.

Karetak-Lindell is always quick to point out she represents all Nunavummiut -- and rightly so.

However, our MP also remembers where she comes from and, when pressed, shows a keen understanding of the issues that need addressing for our region to grow and prosper.

Karetak-Lindell is going back to Ottawa with the solid support of the people of Nunavut behind her and a promise to lobby on behalf of the Kivalliq Region.

Only time will tell if our faith in her is justified, but in this corner we're betting it is.

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