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Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Challenge cup a community event

We're glad to hear this year's Wade Hamer Challenge Cup provided yet another bout of exciting high school hockey rivalry. Too bad we couldn't take time off from work to see it.

School officials from the public and Catholic school boards deemed the event too incendiary to continue showcasing it at night, after experiencing some vandalism and post-game hooliganism by students in 2002.

Last Wednesday, for the second straight year, the Challenge Cup was held during the afternoon, virtually barring anybody who isn't a teacher or under the age of 18 from attending the event.

It's a shame, because over the course of its 20-year history, the Challenge Cup has become Yellowknife's premier hockey event. Parents, students and ordinary hockey fans filled the Yellowknife Community Arena every year it was held.

Granted, the 608-seat arena was again full last week, but if high school students were given the afternoon off to go watch the game, we have to ask where the other 500 went.

If the schools have problems with vandalism during Challenge week, then anticipate it and be prepared. If they're having problems with violence during games, make sure there is adequate security. Knee-jerking to the events of one particularly troublesome year, and then shutting out residents who are most likely to support youth hockey is not the answer.

It's time to bring the game back to prime-time.

Festival of Trees Gala an extraordinary affair

The stars were shining brightly in the St. Pat's gym last Friday night.

It was the Stanton Territorial Hospital's annual Festival of Trees Gala.

There was Andre-Philippe Gagnon, of course, who kept the 720-plus people in the audience laughing during a performance that earned two standing ovations.

Foundation staff and volunteers who made the evening possible were also stars. They showed people to their tables, decorated the gymnasium to look like anything but a gym, and helped people with the live and silent auctions.

Shining, too, were the corporations who helped sponsor the evening. First Air vice-president Mike Olson dealt out free flights as if they were playing cards. Bidders were stars, too, raising $35,000 in the live auction. Adam Bembridge dug deep into his wallet to bid a record $12,500 for the De Beers tree.

Everyone went home with smiles on their faces and a warm feeling in their hearts, knowing they had a great time that helped raise thousands of dollars for a worthwhile cause.

No room for racist policies

Editorial Comment
Darrell Greer
Kivalliq News

In all fairness to Ron Dewar, the executive director of Kivalliq Partners in Development in Rankin Inlet, he only said he'd look into the agency's policy on day care funding -- he never said he'd actually tell anybody what that policy is.

Dewar has not seen fit to return numerous calls to his office from Kivalliq News regarding the policy.

The Kataujaq Society, which runs a day care in Rankin, claims it can't access funding because it has white board members.

It never ceases to amaze me how the blatant disregard for the public's right to know continues to exist in Nunavut without inciting the wrath of everyday citizens.

The Kataujaq Society claims the policy is a form of racism and we tend to agree.

If parents are being denied funding that would make it easier for them to have their children in day care while they work for a living, we want to know why.

We also want to know what gives Kivalliq Partners the authority to place racial stipulations on funding that involves local kids.

Since we're not getting any answers at the local or regional level, the next stop is Ottawa.

The money being funnelled through Kivalliq Partners may have picked up a few fancy names along the way, such as Human Resources Development funding through strategic partnerships and the Labour Market Fund, but it started out as tax dollars paid by millions of Canadians.

Unless something has changed, the feds are still accountable for how our tax dollars are spent.

And if there are areas where the colour of a person's skin is the determining factor on whether an organization can access that money, I want to understand the reasoning behind it.

If there are no answers forthcoming, then let's implement these "policies" right across the board.

Fair is fair

Why should working parents be the only ones discriminated against?

Let's start denying minor hockey associations funding if they have any white coaches.

In fact, all sporting veins should be barred access -- wrestling, badminton, basketball, etc. -- if any of their coaches are white.

And do we really want our Girl Guides being instructed by white leaders?

Dangerous precedent

What if the federal government decided tomorrow, no more transfer payments to Nunavut until the territorial government meets its self-imposed quota of 85 per cent Inuit employees.

Could you imagine the outcry?

But that's probably an unfair argument, since we're only dealing with a handful of parents here.

If this "policy" truly exists, it is a dangerous one. It's the type of "policy" that fuels ill-will between people.

And, most importantly, it is the type of "policy" the government should move quickly to eradicate.

New MLA can turn the page

Editorial Comment
Jason Unrau
Inuvik Drum

When Twin Lakes voters go to the polls Monday, to choose their new MLA, there will be a variety of candidates listed on the ballot, each possessing relevant experience to serve their constituents at the legislative assembly in Yellowknife.

For Twin Lakes, this vote represents the final chapter in the saga of questionable conduct by the riding's former MLA and, hopefully, the beginning of a more grassroots approach to governing at the territorial level.

Those who subscribe to the grassroots method know that communication is key.

And this issue of communication -- or lack thereof, as alleged by some Twin Lakes constituents -- was a major bone of contention many had with the former MLA.

Yellowknife is a long way from Inuvik -- both literally and figuratively -- so keeping Twin Lakers abreast of what's going on in the capital, while soliciting questions and concerns from this end, will provide a solid foundation for maintaining good rapport with those in the Twin Lakes riding.

And continuing with the grassroots-style is essential.

Already in Inuvik there are several organizations and loose associations working on a variety of fronts, from dealing with homelessness to addressing the flow of hard drugs into the community.

Twin Lakes' new MLA should work with these groups and point them towards relevant territorial opportunities, and/or initiatives they can tap into, and vice versa. In most cases, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, rather the new representative must channel the energy and enthusiasm already present in the community.

Affordable housing and education must also be on the new MLA's agenda. For far too long Inuvik renters have been at the mercy of market forces.

While it is good to see projects such as Capital Suites come to fruition, it would be even more satisfying if low-income families could enjoy satisfactory accommodations that won't break their banks.

It is hard to swallow a nearly zero per cent vacancy rate in town when there is a new hotel going up at the end of Mackenzie Road and a half-empty executive residence complex just up the way.

In terms of education, several candidates have broached the issue of providing bussing for students.

Money formerly earmarked for this purpose has been diverted into funding the worthwhile full-day kindergarten and maintaining what Inuvik students already enjoy.

However, bussing may be part of the solution for getting kids to school and keeping them there.

As well, our new Twin Lakes MLA should lobby hard to secure more money to address the needs of Inuvik's challenged students.

Leaving them and their parents to fend for themselves is simply not an option.

And last, but by no means least, is the issue of the socio-economic impact of the coming pipeline.

The new Twin Lakes MLA must be a solid proponent of ensuring the region gets its fair share of the bounty and that measures are in place to deal with the fallout of the boom.

Get to the bottom

Editorial Comment
Darrell Greer
Kivalliq News

It's still really murky right now, but the controversy swirling in Fort Liard is hopefully on the road to being resolved.

Acho Dene Koe First Nation has approved an in-depth audit of its financial records -- past and present.

This course of action may not be a saving grace for the current chief and council, who have constantly been under fire, but it should provide band members with some very interesting reading material.

So beleaguered is Chief Floyd Bertrand that in the public announcement posted by the band this week, he acknowledges band members' calls for an early election. He states he and the current council refuse to resign and will remain in power until the next election, on July 17, 2005.

Then again, if the current administration can be redeemed in the eyes of angry band members at all, perhaps this audit will help vindicate them.

The important thing is that the analysis is conclusive and that chief and council continue to keep band members abreast of any developments.

A positive first step was taken by publicly announcing the audit.

There may not be anything discovered. We shall see, hopefully.

A nation divided

Rarely is there a moment without intrigue on the Deh Cho Process file. At one point it looked like it was just the Liidlii Kue First Nation that was pushing for a separate Deh Cho pipeline body to settle the business end of things. Then the ante rose last week with five other organizations jumping on board.

Chief Keyna Norwegian said the time crunch was one of the major factors in forming the Dehgah Alliance Society. The Deh Cho communities are apparently worried they are falling too far behind in negotiating benefits as the pipeline process progresses. Mackenzie Gas Project benefits negotiations are taking place in the Inuvialuit and Gwich'in regions.

However, in the Sahtu, Deline just broke off benefits talks in frustration. Obviously they can't achieve the deal they are seeking and don't feel pressured to sign now.

If there's power in numbers, the five Deh Cho corridor communities should have more clout than Deline. But by forming an exclusive society at a time when other communities were interested in becoming participants in the pipeline working group, the corridor communities, in their bid to secure equitable benefits, have risked severing the backing of their Deh Cho allies.

Whether the members of the society intend to alienate anyone or not, obviously they feel it's a risk work taking.


In the story "Retail sales show mixed results" (Yellowknifer, Nov. 24, pg. 11), the retail outlet For Men Only was incorrectly identified as Just for Men. Yellowknifer apologizes for this error.

The head of the 4th Degree is called the Faithful Navigator in the Knights of Columbus story in Yellowknifer, Nov. 19 ("Yk Knights love to do good deeds"). Sir Knight Gordon Van Tighem is the Faithful Navigator of the 4th Degree Assembly in Yellowknife.

Nanulik MLA Patterk Netser was shown taking part in the DARE ceremony (DARE to be yourself) at Sakku school in Coral Harbour on page 1 of the Nov. 17 edition of Kivalliq News, not Mayor Johnny Ningeongan as stated. Kivalliq News apologizes for any embarrassment the mistake may have caused.