Editorial page

Wednesday, October 20, 1999

Mid-term report

Today Yellowknifers have the rare opportunity to give city council a mid-term report.

Who is elected in today's byelection should show council what their constituents think of them so far.

There is also a plebescite where the city is asking permission to borrow $1.5 million for road repair. The results will give a city council a barometer of public opinion on spending.

However it goes, the people will have voiced opinions city council can use to guide them in their decisions, should they choose to listen. So get out there and vote. Let city hall know what you think.

Proving it can be done

Yellowknifer Manuel Jorg has taken Northern manufacturing one step further with his latest creation.

After 20 years of working in the housing industry, Jorg got frustrated watching all the supplies coming from the south. He decided to do something about it.

Today, as manager of Kam Lake-based Energy Wall & Building Products, he's in the process of manufacturing his own line of pre-fabricated wall systems -- a system now being seen as one of the most energy efficient wall systems in the circumpolar world.

According to the Northern Manufacturers' Association 34 manufacturing companies now operate in Yellowknife. With everything from steel doors, windows to diamond cutting, the association is optimistic the growing manufacturing sector will continue to grow.

Take Bruce Elliot of Fibreglass North. After finding much success with his fibreglass business, Elliot's now well into the testing stage of what could become a breakthrough in the production of fibre-optic telephone poles.

There's no denying the spinoffs that come with manufacturing are healthy for any economy. What's particularly positive is that a lot of these manufacturers are finding that if their products can work here, they can work anywhere, especially in the growing circumpolar world market.

But despite these breakthroughs, there's still a way to go before local manufacturing can become a leading industry.

Mining, oil and gas continue to rule the economy -- royalties go south, supplies are bought from the south, and they continue to rely heavily on a southern workforce.

Comparatively, only one per cent of Northern manufacturing goes towards our gross domestic product, leaving us a long way away from this industry showing a huge impact on our local economy.

But we have to start somewhere. And it's the efforts like Jorg and Elliot's that are proving with patience and innovation, it can be done.

People count

Attention, cynics, this just in: people can make a difference.

Two police officers, Staff Sgt. Andrew Boland and Sgt. Marlin Degrand, were recently praised for their contribution to a program to reduce family violence.

Arlene Hache, executive director of the Yellowknife Women's Centre, had nothing but good things to say about the officers as they prepare for transfers to other duties.

The point is that two people stepped in to work on a problem that is endemic in the North, family violence and spousal abuse, and things started to change for the better.

All too often we look at a problem, shrug and wonder what possible impact we could have. "What's the use?" we ask ourselves.

Just ask Arlene Hache, she'll tell you.

Cadet program a benefit to all
Editorial Comment
Darrell Greer
Kivalliq News

It is simply wonderful to see a concerned and dedicated group of volunteers working diligently to revive the cadet program in Rankin Inlet.

The program fell into disarray and almost completely vanished after the tragic accident which claimed the life of Ed Burton.

The new instructors say they want to pick up where Burton left off and that is dedicating countless hours to help the development of local youth.

The cadet program does much more than just give a group of local kids somewhere to go for one night a week.

The program builds character, self-esteem and confidence in one's own abilities and undertakings.

It also builds a tremendous amount of understanding and respect for the concept of teamwork.

It instils the ability to confidently, and without a moment's hesitation, trust the person next to you to do his or her part.

Such is the feeling of camaraderie instilled by the cadet corps.

The program offers something else to its participants as well.

It offers a true sense of belonging, of being part of something special.

This is extremely important in the North, especially in our new territory.

Our kids have to be made to feel they have the same opportunities to shape their futures as their counterparts in the south.

They have to know they can go as far as their own hard work will take them.

With all these virtues behind it, perhaps the most important thing the Northern cadet program accomplishes is that it shows our youth there are many adults in the community who do care about the opportunities they are presented with.

It is, in many respects, another brick in the wall of our community structure.

The wall which encompasses our school teachers, our Guiders, religious leaders, the numerous people who give so willingly of their time to run minor hockey, baseball, soccer, volleyball, land skills, the list goes on and on.

The revival of our cadet program is an important development in our community and one for which its organizers should be applauded.

Programs which build character, confidence and self-esteem make our youth stronger.

And, anything that helps make our youth stronger, also helps make our future that much brighter as we march together into the dawning of the 21st century.