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Yukon best place to live ?

Think-tank hoax snares the usual suspects

Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 07/01) - There's nothing like a best-of list to bring competitive juices to a boil.

So when Yukon was named the best place to live in Canada, territorial loyalists were quick to disagree.

"The Yukon is not the number one place to live in Canada," said Sachs Harbour Mayor Andy Carpenter who recently returned from a trip to Yukon.

"I don't think I'd want to live there."

In truth, the ranking was something of a hoax, perpetrated by Mark Anielski, of the Pembina Institute, an Alberta think-tank.

The institute recently released "The Alberta GPI Project," a study that challenged the way the United Nations ranks countries.

According to the UN formula, Canada is the best place in the world to live. The GPI project used the same criteria to rank the provinces and territories.

Yukon came first. The Northwest Territories ranked fourth, edging out British Columbia and losing by less than a percentage point to Ontario. Alberta was second and Newfoundland dead last.

"We were trying to show deficiencies in economic measurements," said Anielski, director of the institute's green economics programs.

Anielski said the UN tallies a territory's gross domestic product, life expectancy and education levels to come up with its rankings.

"People like to brag about being the best," said Anielski, who was neverthless surprised by the quick response to the study.

"I got a call immediately from the Yukon."

Residents of the Northwest Territories were just as quick to take issue with the rankings.

"The NWT should be number one," said Nina Moses, office manager of the Pehdzeh'ki band in Wrigley.

"There are magnificent mountains all the way around here," Moses said looking out her window.

Iris Catholic, recreation co-ordinator and executive secretary for the Lutsel K'e Dene council, said after travelling through southern Canada she thinks the NWT is the place to live.

"The NWT is better because we don't have as much pollution and we have a diverse population," said Catholic.