Editorial page

Friday, December 14, 2001

Homeless detox fills a gap

Ernie Glowach and Chris Green are to be commended for the homeless haven the pair are developing on Highway 3.

Glowach set up the tent city three and a half years ago. Now, thanks to a lease with the federal government, the camp has grown to offer three small heated units that are currently providing housing for six people.

Without government or corporate funding, the Peacemaker Camp on Highway 3 is quickly becoming one way the homeless can have a roof over their heads. More importantly, it's proving to be a success story of much broader proportions. There can be no doubt it's helping people deal with their addictions.

"There are people who choose to drink seven days a week and what are we supposed to do with them? We still have to care about them," Green told Yellowknifer. With a "no booze and no drugs" policy, those who live there also have to contribute to keeping the communal-style camp up and running. To people like Dave Turchinsky, this camp has not only given him a second chance but is a money-making venture that could turn into a career.

Originally from Fort Providence, Turchinsky was raised in Alberta and returned North a few years ago, only to become consumed with heavy drinking.

A talented carver, Turchinsky is now not only sober, but is selling his carvings to help pay for the camp's food and fuel. All thanks to living at the camp,

The bottom line is, even though the Peacemaker Camp can't be compared to an addictions centre and offers no licensed counselling, it is proving the need is there.

With every person we can keep out of the drunk tank, we take one more step in the right direction.

Idle chatter

You have to hand it to the hearty souls who don gloves, toque, scarf and more to trudge to work each day.

If the cold isn't enough, they have to choke on clouds of exhaust fumes spewed from cars that line Franklin Avenue. Making matters worse are those who break the law by leaving their cars idling when they park.

It is important to warm a vehicle to the recommended operating temperature, but excessive idling is sending tonnes of pollutants into the air we breathe.

Besides the fact it is against the law to leave an unattended vehicle running, it's time to rethink automobile use.

Consider carpooling. Walk to work instead of wasting time, and gas, warming your vehicle for a two-minute drive. Take a cab or jump on the bus.

You'll save money by using less gas and you'll help keep the air we all breath cleaner too.

Board has to go public

Yellowknife Education District No. 1 board trustees have a chance to prove to the public they are spending money appropriately.

But that will only happen if they disclose the entire findings of the review done last month of board management, administration and finances.

Sadly, it is still unclear if, or when, that will happen.

Chair Dan Schofield said the board will probably further discuss the matter with the Department of Education. And trustee Maureen Miller said she wouldn't be in favour of releasing something that "fingers someone."

Only one public trustee seems to really understand to whom the board is accountable.

"It's public money. They have a right to know, good or bad," said Ann Enge.

Let's hope all the trustees get that message soon.

The real jackpot

Editorial Comment
Darrell Greer
Kivalliq News

We have to admit it's quite easy to adopt a sitting-on-the-fence attitude when it comes to bingo as a fundraiser in the Kivalliq.

Let's be honest. The monies raised go a long way towards supporting a number of worthwhile programs in our communities. Further complicating the matter is that so much of the money goes towards maintaining recreational facilities and supporting our local athletes.

After all, should everyone in the country be refused a beer because one per cent of our population are alcoholics?

The gambling argument is nothing new. In the South, bingo playing is overshadowed in most places by video lottery terminals.

VLTs are often referred to as the crack cocaine of the gambling world, but the similarities to bingo in the North are many when it comes to splitting up the profits.

With so many people benefiting from the proceeds, it's hard to say bingo is a bad thing simply because some people don't know when they've spent enough.

When you look at the big picture, that's a pretty fair assessment.

However, hamlets should strive diligently to ensure organizations are able to account for the money they've raised and where it's spent.

We don't have anything against exchange groups raising money to travel, but we do agree that bingos being held simply to raise prize money for things like fishing derbies is a bad idea.

If people want to kill something in hopes of winning a prize, let them pay to play.

It would also be a good idea for our hamlets to put some of the mega-bucks they're raking in towards helping those who are spending too much on their dabbers.

Maybe a timely donation once or twice a year to a local organization to distribute educational material on excessive gambling habits.

Even a paper band or stapled sheet to bingo cards asking the buyer quite simply, "Is your family doing without because you bought this card?" may give those developing a problem cause to think.

There can be no denying bingo revenues help our communities in many ways. But we must do what we can to keep any damage resulting from the game to a minimum. Giving a tiny percentage of the profits back in a way that might prevent some people from hurting their families is money well spent.

Just the gesture alone shows people that we, as a community, care. And that's hitting the jackpot every time.

Reclaiming pages from the past

Editorial Comment
Malcolm Gorrill
Inuvik Drum

Memories stemming from the days of reindeer herding in the Delta before the advent of snowmobiles have been captured in the form of a book to prevent them from becoming lost over the years.

Reindeer Days Remembered was written by Elisa Hart, with help from local Inuvialuit researchers, and is based mostly on interviews with herders as well as some of their wives.

Starting next fall, the plan is that high school students will be reading the book as part of their studies. Hart revealed that while doing her research she developed a real admiration for the hard tasks the herders performed.

It is her hope that this book will instill pride among students in their forebears as well.

It is to be hoped too that Reindeer Days Remembered will bring history home for all who read it. After all, history does not just concern events which transpired in other parts of the world like Europe or southern Canada.

Santa Claus Parade a success

Inuvik's Santa Claus Parade was a success by all accounts.

Many people took part, a lot braved chilly temperatures to watch the floats go by, and Santa Claus was able to attend.

As well, it was obvious a lot of thought and hard work had gone into the floats.

Here's hoping another parade can be held next year. Such events help bring people together and boost community spirit.

Congratulations to the organizers and participants.

Sweet music, special evening

It wasn't quite the night before Christmas, but all through the Igloo Church, sweet music could be heard Sunday evening at the community Christmas concert.

It was a night to remember, complete with many talented singers, a large crowd at hand, and lots of songs, some serious, some comical.

All those who took part should take a bow.

Life's lessons

Editorial Comment
Derek Neary
Deh Cho Drum, Fort Simpson

The regional soccer trials in Fort Simpson this past weekend were a microcosm of life's trials and tribulations.

Players from several Mackenzie communities gave every ounce of effort to make an impression on the coaches. Most players did, anyway. Some weren't as energetic. Some wound up getting cut. Some didn't take it very well.

Nobody welcomes the news that they're just not good enough to make the grade. But that's life. There will be other occasions when they strive to achieve a goal but come up short. Learning to be resilient is vital.

Not making the team isn't a judgement of a person's overall character, talents or worthiness. Nor is being cut tantamount to failure. If a player gives 100 per cent, as the old cliche goes, that's all he or she can do.

Disappointment over being cut is a natural reaction, but harbouring resentment or allowing one's self-esteem to bottom out is not healthy.

There are those who may argue that sports shouldn't emphasize who wins and who loses, that a teenager shouldn't be omitted from a team's roster. It's true, camaraderie and social bonding, as well as the chance to travel, are appealing aspects of sports. There are plenty of recreational activities that do not hinge on victory or defeat. Yet the nature of sports is to determine a winner and a loser.

There comes a time, such as during Super Soccer and the Arctic Winter Games, when the competitive edge is an integral part of the proceedings. Sometimes that will mean that certain players see limited action or sit on the bench for an entire game. That may be tough for a 12-year-old to swallow but by age 16 such realities should start to sink in.

Everybody wants to score the winning goal, be the hero or the star. It's not going to happen for everyone -- not on the court, the ice, the field or in life in general. You learn to contribute in ways you can. You learn to be honest about your own capabilities, but always endeavour to improve yourself and be a well-rounded individual. That way, life's disappointments don't feel like a ton of bricks.

Also worth noting, the selection camp format does seem to be an improvement over the previous team-based approach. In the past, players from smaller communities, no matter how talented, had little chance of competing in team sports at Arctic Winter Games because their communities had inferior teams or none at all. Now all players, if they register on time, have a chance to show their stuff.


Comments attributed to Wendy Carlos-Hajcik on page A4 of the Dec. 12 edition of Yellowknifer were, in fact, never made. Yellowknifer apologizes for the error and any embarrassment it may have caused.