Friday, February 14, 1997

Hard questions

The people of Yellowknife should be grateful for MLA Roy Erasmus. He's asking tough questions in the legislative assembly.

If the government expects the taxpayers to support programs such as affirmative action, it is only right that ministers answer questions about where the money is going and what's being accomplished.

Erasmus has been persistent in the face of the premier's impatience. Good. The voters deserve the answers. (14/Feb/97)

The kids in the Mall

Let's imagine for a moment you are shopping in Centre Square Mall. Stopping for a coffee to revive your flagging spirits, you notice a sign by the cash register: "No seniors allowed between 11:00 and 2:00."

In this day and age that sign would be neither allowed nor tolerated. It's discriminatory. It is also the kind of reception that Yellowknife's teenagers are getting when they head to the Centre Square Mall.

Some retailers are displaying signs that limit the entry of teenagers to specified times. That's discrimination.

Retailers and restauranteurs are protected by the same laws that the rest of us are. If any individual is stealing, creating a disturbance or harassing others there is a system in place to deal with it.

Adults are expected to respect the law and take responsibility for their own behaviour. Teenagers are subject to the same laws as adults and are expected to act responsibly. That's why they are allowed to have a driver licence.

That some teenagers cause restaurant owners problems is not disputed. However, that is no justification for treating all teenagers as if they were delinquents.

Restauranteurs and store owners have a right to create a comfortable atmosphere for their customers and customers have a right to go about their business without being harassed.

But exercising those rights doesn't meaning the wholesale banning of teenagers from businesses. That is discriminatory and stupid.

How can adults expect kids to develop a sense of responsible citizenship when they are treated as unwanted problems?

As teenager Peggy Holroyd pointed out in her intelligently constructed letter to the editor in Yellowknifer last week, teenagers are students, workers, and consumers.

Some adults might be in for a pleasant surprise if they started treating them that way. (14/Feb/97)

Can't complain

Time was when the price of catching a top-rated musical act included air fare to Edmonton or further south.

No longer. This winter we've seen jazz pianist John Stetch and classical pianist Jon Kimura Parker come to Yellowknife, both outstanding practitioners.

The Cave Club, meanwhile, has brought in several big names since it opened. The current act, Ellen McIlwaine has to be one of the most engaging and renowned blues musicians in the country.

If our local venue managers keep up the good work, the news that Yellowknife is a welcoming and worthwhile city to play will spread throughout Canada's artistic circles. (14/Feb/97)