Editorial Editorial

Who's calling the shots?
Houseboaters on Yellowknife Bay are being dragged through the courts by a council that says it wants to settle the question of who has jurisdiction over Yellowknife Bay.

Council has said it wants to resolve the matter with as little expense and aggravation as possible to the houseboaters.

So far though, it hasn't been working out that way, yet it could have been painless. City Hall has known all along that it could have put the jurisdiction question directly to a Supreme Court judge.

That bit of intelligence sailed out of the mists following a recent fax to city hall from Yellowknife MLA Roy Erasmus.

"There is a way you can do this without involving the innocent citizen," Erasmus wrote.

"That is, you can simply ask the Supreme Court of the NWT to rule on who has jurisdiction; this is called putting a question to the court."

"Doing it this way would save the houseboaters a lot of money, time and agony," Erasmus wrote.

Senior administrator Doug Lagore says the city knew about the route Erasmus suggested while Mayor Dave Lovell says he only found out about it after legal action had begun.

Lovell has previously said he wasn't aware of two legal opinions given the city on the issue of jurisdiction over the bay and they had played no part in taking the houseboaters to court.

Which leads to the question: just who is initiating what amounts to legal harassment of Yellowknife citizens and what is council's position on continuing?

The intervention by Erasmus is welcome. With administration hiding behind the cloak of "privileged information" and aldermen sitting on their hands, someone has to ask the obvious questions and call for common sense.

Hopefully, Erasmus's leadership will set the example.(October 30, 1996)

A plague of debt

After years of federal governments spending recklessly while shovelling baskets of money at private enterprise, Canada has a plague of debt.

Compounding the problem are the provinces and the territories, who also have difficulty curbing spending.

Seven of 11 Territorial departments exceeded their 1995 budgets by over $3 million. With what is already owed, it's going to take many years to dissolve the NWT's debt if the overspending continues.

There is much talk in Canada today about reducing our $600 billion national debt so it's not left to our children and grandchildren to pay. Yet each year the government spends billions more than it takes in.

The reality is that unless bureaucrats, politicians and ultimately the voters take budgets seriously, the Canadian debt will still burden many unborn generations. (October 30, 1996)