Dawson City, Yukon Friday, November 10, 2000

The Yukon Lou tour boat (in foreground) and the George Black ferry (behind) are ashore for the winter now, and there's quite a bit more ice in the river than there was when this photo was taken on October 28. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

New Council Sworn In
Dawson Ambulance Wins for Second Year in a Row
A Classical Evening
We Will Be Skating in Dawson this Winter
Education Review Takes First Steps in Dawson
Women Are Persons Too
Dawson's Link with Lancieux

Welcome to the November 10th on-line edition of the Klondike Sun. This is the abridged version of our 24 page Nov. 7th hard copy edition. Wish we could share everything, but getting a subscription (see our home page) is the only way you'll ever see it all. Approximately 500 people viewed our last on-line issue.

New Council Sworn In

by Dan Davidson


Byrun Shandler, Aedes Scheer, Glen Everitt, Joanne Van Nostrand and Wayne Potoroka posed for this photo on the day after they were elected to council. Photo by Dan Davidson

Dawson' s new municipal council met for the first time on October 30, for a short session where the main item of business was a swearing in ceremony.

Witnessed by notary Shirley Moi, the ceremony began with returning incumbents Mayor Glen Everitt, and councillors Joanne Van Nostrand and Aedes Scheer.

First term councillor Wayne Potoroka was last to swear the oath on the 1899 Bible which had been discovered in storage during last year's relocation of the building.

The second new councillor, Byrun Shandler, did manage to make it to half of the meeting, arriving fresh from a quick drive from Whitehorse, but he will have to be sworn in later.

There was a small audience of family and friends to witness the swearing, though this group of 10 was still far in excess of the norm.

It was a light agenda for that first agenda. Public meetings, which should soon be televised again, will continue to be held on the first and third Mondays of each month.

Mayor Everitt reported that negotiations over some fourteen issues are progressing with territorial government, in spite of strains caused by a letter issued from Community and Transportation Services Minister Pam Buckway's office just before the election. That letter had denied the mayor's assertions that the YTG had, during the summer, backed out of funding arrangements for recreation improvements that it had confirmed shortly after the spring territorial election.

Returning councillors and the mayor continue to maintain that they can prove the meetings they have spoken of actually took place and have notes to confirm their side of the story, but Everitt has said he's rather get on with firming up the current arrangement than argue about the past, just as long as no one tries to alter it.

The council's big order of business for the fall will be firming up the first draft of the annual budget, in which it can be expected that there will be very few items of capital spending other than the recreation centre, which is now just about down to its steel bones as the renovations continue.

The new swimming pool is just about ready to open. The official opening may come as soon as this Sunday. The pool is full, but some technical problems with the water system may not allow the new council to have the few days of swimming that Everitt had hoped to be able to announce. Discussion revolved around trying to find ways to solve those problems quickly. The water does need to stay in the pool for a week or so, and council indicated that it would hate to see it go unused.

Aside from that Everitt reported that he has been informed that the Canadian Tourism Council would like to see a bid from Dawson to hold its winter tourism conference in the winter of 2002.

There will be few meetings of council as short as this one. Two hours is most unusual, and the mandatory cut-off at 10:30 is often extended by special resolution to allow the agenda to be completed.

In addition, from here on in, as council was warned by the local press, many of them can look forward to being sworn at rather than sworn in.

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Dawson Ambulance Wins for Second Year in a Row

by John Tyrrell


Health Minister Don Roberts poses with winning team Kevin Bowler, John Peterson and Curtis Peever. Photo by John Tyrrell

In the annual territory wide ambulance skills competition recently held in Whitehorse, two teams from Dawson City upheld our winning record from last year. Dawson City Team #2 edged out Dawson Team #1 to win the Trans North Turbo air Speed KED race on the Friday night and then on Saturday, Dawson Team #1 showed once again we really are #1 scoring the highest over teams from all over the territory including two Whitehorse based crews.

The Speed KED (Kendricks Extrication Device) race is a new event in which a 200 lb. Rescue Randy mannequin is extricated from a steel cage simulating a wrecked car using standard protocols. The winning team of Tom Chapman, Kyla Loiselle, and Tim Gunter removed Randy in just 1 minute 40 seconds while three judges from 3 different communities with over 40 years total paramedic experience watched carefully for any loss of spinal immobilization or deviation from the standards. Since this race was sponsored by Trans North Helicopters, the prize for the winners was a helicopter trip!

In the day long full event every team was given a realistic scenario >from the files of actual calls and judged over a 30 minute time period from initial dispatch to final report at the hospital or nursing station including all pertinent treatments. First place winners were John Peterson, Kevin Bowler, and Curtis Peever. Coming second was a composite team from Faro, Tagish, and Dawson led by Dawson's own ambulance supervisor, Evelyn McDonald. Acting as one of the five judges was last years winning lead for Dawson, Fr. John Tyrrell. The competition was very stiff and high standards were exhibited throughout. Health Minister Don Roberts attended on the Saturday and presented the awards. The competition was organized by Whitehorse paramedic Michael Swainson.

The annual competitions are designed to test the ongoing training of the 14 community ambulance services and took place in conjunction with the Ambulance supervisors meeting and the Annual General Meeting of the Paramedic Association of Yukon (P.A.Y), the local chapter of the national professional association. Dawson ambulance paramedics elected to office in the Paramedic Association of Yukon were Kevin Bowler, vice-president, Joelle Burns, treasurer, and Fr. John Tyrrell, secretary-registrar with Curtis Peever elected as Dawson's local board representative. President of the P.A.Y. is territorial training officer Rob Robinson.

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A Classical Evening

by Timothy Coonen


Pianist Petronel Malan dazzles the audience with her sold-out performance on October 22. Photo by Joanne Van Nostrand

Dawson's classical music event of the year may well have been Dawson's best kept secret. On Sunday evening, October 22, South African pianist Petronel Malan performed a recital to a sold-out crowd.

Ms. Malan, who had performed the same program the evening before in Whitehorse, had been available to perform in Dawson, but on one condition: due to the technical requirements of the music, she required the superior action of a grand piano.

Parks Canada has decided that the venerable Bechstein concert grand in the Palace Grand Theatre is an artifact (rather than an instrument) and may not be played. The Arts Society doesn't have a Grand...yet. That left one other instrument, a beautiful new Yamaha, worth about as much as a new truck, in Joanne Van Nostrand's living room.

Whitehorse Concerts contacted Ms. VanNostrand, who agreed to host the event. The 25 tickets (at $25 each) sold out by word of mouth before the booking was even confirmed.

Ms. Malan's talent and artistry is being recognized world-wide; this year alone she has won four Gold medals at four major competitions: the Missouri International Piano Competition, the Hilton Head International, the Louise MacMahon International, and the Web Concert Hall Auditions.

These are added to many other awards won in previous years, including First Place in every competition South Africa could offer her before her departure in 1991.

Since her European debut in Rome (1987) she has performed in Paris, London, Salzburg, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Chicago, New York, and now Dawson. Her performances have been broadcast on three continents; she has toured Colombia with the Colombian Symphony Orchestra. Her list of accomplishments goes on and on.

Displaying perhaps a bit of shyness at playing for a small gathering seated within 2 meters of her, she commented "This is like playing in a picture postcard." No wonder--the previous Monday evening she had played her debut recital in Carnegie Hall in New York! Ms. Malan, age 27, a tall slender woman, was wearing an elegant long black short-sleeved cocktail dress, decorated in small sequins set into medallions of silver thread. The dress had belonged to Joan Crawford.

Ms. Malan introduced us to each piece of work, sometimes putting one knee up on the piano bench as she explained the history of the composer or of the work, occasionally reaching behind her to illustrate a theme or melody on the piano. And then she began to play.

The first work was Bach's Prelude and Fugue in E major, played with confidence and vigor, each voice cleanly articulated. She then continued with Mozart's Sonata in D major, a deceptively light work of great intricacy which danced and shimmered. She made it sound easy, expressing the complex lines with brilliance and grace. Her third work was the Sonatina Seconda, by F. Busoni, an early 20th century work with dark and sombre dissonances, a good contrast to the previous two works.

She continued with Maurice Ravel's La Valse. As she explained, this work was originally written as a ballet score for full orchestra, which was transcribed for solo piano by the composer himself. A piece of such complexity, the composer wrote it on three staves (instead of the traditional two), adding to the remarkable difficulty of the piece. Written in 1919 in Vienna, Ravel captured the spirit of the Viennese waltz (which he had always loved), but infused it with the pain and horror which the Great War had inflicted on the beloved city.

After "setting up the work," Petronel sat at the keys, then quickly turned and stated, with a twinkle in her eye, "This is the most fun I have at the piano!" One caught glimpses of a ballroom filled with whirling dancers, yet the music became by turns dark, grim, filled with post-war despair. The piece exploded into a frenzy that was nearly satanic in its intensity, as Ms. Malan commanded the fullest dynamic and tonal breadth of the instrument, in a performance never to be forgotten by this reviewer--it was breathtaking. When it ended we all took a much needed intermission to recharge our glasses.

The second half began with a work by the South African composer Arnold van Wyk, the Ricordanza. Written in the 1970's as the composer was dying of a lengthy illness, it expressed the pain and suffering he was experiencing, ending finally with the consonance of a perfect octave chord in both hands--the hand of death approaching, with release from pain.

Ms. Malan continued with two transcriptions of well known works. (Transcriptions are works originally written for other instruments or groups of instruments, recreated as works for solo piano.) While technically demanding, these works were light and charming. She played a piece of Schubert lieder, the Heidenröslein, and the "Scherzo" from Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Ms. Malan then concluded the formal part of the recital with the well known and very popular Rachmaninoff Sonata No. 2, a piece of such drama and intensity it threatened to take the paint off the walls. It was performed with great power, artistry, poetry and finesse.

Realizing that our thirst had not yet been slaked, she performed three encore numbers, interspersing them with casual conversation with the audience. It seemed as though she was as taken by this small circle of Dawsonites as we were with her. She has offered to come back to perform and even to give a master class for pianists, claiming she may even bring her brother up--"He likes that canoeing stuff!"

Her first CD is due to be released next year--Ms. Malan intends to complete a recording of piano transcriptions, many of which have never been recorded. In the meantime she is procrastinating finishing her Doctoral thesis; all other work is completed for her degree from North Texas State, a school well known for its music programs, and home to her piano teacher. It seems she would much rather perform, and we are all the richer for it.

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We Will Be Skating in Dawson this Winter

by Paul Marceau


Dawson's Minto Park ball diamond will become an outdoor skating rink for this winter. Photo by Dan Davidson

Surely by now most people have seen the structures going up in Minto park. To answer your collective questions, yes it is a skating rink. No, it is not the new recreation centre. That is being built on the site of the old Bonanza Centre, as I'm sure most readers have also had opportunity to notice.

The rink in Minto park is only slightly smaller than the old indoor rink, and will still have quality natural ice with all the lines and markings of a hockey rink. TSL, the company contracted to do the recreation centre has graciously donated a heated trailer for our dressing rooms which will also house temporary washrooms. We will also run the Zamboni on the ice daily for public use and right before any groups are scheduled to play. The other building you see beside the ice rink will house the Zamboni, the hot water tank to flood the ice, and the skate sharpener. People can have their skates sharpened when there is an attendant on site. The times will be posted.

This rink has been built so that we can store it over the summer months and re-use it every winter, wherever we determine it will be used most. It is not likely that we will use the south end again, as there is already a skating rink on the tennis/basketball courts. Incidentally, that ice surface is coming along thanks to volunteer Bruce Duffee, and should be ready in the next week or so.

As for the big rink, we hope to start flooding this week and be skating within two weeks. The usual attendants Robert Billings and Paul Marceau will be making the ice and running the Zamboni. Any groups who would like to book ice time can call Paul at 993-7400. Ice time will of course be free, but to ensure quality ice and no overlaps of users, we encourage you to book a time. A draft schedule has been published in the 2000/2001 leisure guide, but is open to change according to how users want it. The leisure guide can be picked up at several businesses around town.

We ask that all public users obey the signs and treat other skaters with respect. We also ask that no one uses the rink until the ice is complete and the lines are place. Remember that skating on the surface before all the layers are on is not only unsafe, but slows down the process if we have to repair holes every morning before we flood again. A sign will be posted stating when it is safe to skate on. We are looking forward to seeing all of you out on the Minto park skating rink this winter. Remember to dress warmly and play safely!

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Education Review Takes First Steps in Dawson

by Dan Davidson


Ken Taylor holds the microphone while chatting with the audience. Photo by Dan Davidson

After ten years in action the 1990 Education Act, known as Partners in Education, is under review, and the very first meeting of the Education Act Review Steering Committee took place in Dawson City last week.

The act, once thought to be one of the most progressive in the country is, by the opinion of most who are governed by it, in need of an overhaul. More to the point, however, the act itself stipulates that it must be reviewed within 10 years.

Half of the steering committee came north on a trip which was to include Dawson and Old Crow. The four committee members were Paul Nordahl, president of the Yukon Teachers Association; J.P Flament, representing the Dept. of Education; Lesley Cabott, representing School Councils; and Norma Shorty, Director of Education for the Council of Yukon First Nations.

They were accompanied by a small staff and committee chair Ken Taylor, whose role, as he kept reminding himself and everyone else, was to act as a facilitator. Taylor's background in both teaching and politics emerged from time to time, giving him a tendency to ask leading questions, but one the whole he tried to summarize the words of others and get people to make statements, rather than ask questions themselves.

That seemed to be one problem with the process. So many people need to ask questions about how the education system actually works in order to articulate their concerns and pose alternatives.

The largest meeting the committee had was with grades 5 to 12 at the Robert Service School on Wednesday morning, where students asked about teacher evaluation, more physical education and longer breaks between classes.

The turnouts for the other two meetings were disappointingly small. There was a session with school staff on Tuesday. Those who were not busy making up exams, working on the school play or coaching volleyball teams did show up, but the staff pretty much counted on the Yukon Teachers Association reps and the school administrators to carry the message to the committee. Some chose to attend the evening public meeting instead.

Teachers here are concerned about a number of things besides their contract negotiations. These included school responsibilities in regards to home schooling and ways of enforcing school attendance.

The evening meeting was also lightly attended, with about thirteen people, five of them connected to the school. Issues included concerns about the pros and cons of grade retention policies versus social promotion; the need to see learning as an ongoing activity; the possibility of having a greater number of educators employed in more flexible ways in order to give learners the maximum benefit; the need for more first nations educational assistants and teachers, generally, to work with first nations children.

There was a tendency for some of the issues to become too personalized, focussed too closely on one family or situation rather than looking at the system as a whole. People found it difficult to turn their concerns into recommendation statements and this sometimes led Taylor to rephrase and summarize for people.

The resulting statements were typed up immediately and shown on an overhead computer display, which did offer the speaker an immediate chance to check the accuracy of what was being recorded about their statements.

The document which comes from all of this should make for some interesting reading.

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Women Are Persons Too

by Kim Marceau

October 18 marked the seventy-first anniversary of the "Person's Case," a landmark decision for Canadian women. This decision opened up the highest law-making body in Canada to women.

"Women are persons in matters of pains and penalties, but are not persons in matters of rights and privileges." This was the sentiment of the British North America Act when Judge Emily Murphy wanted to become a Senator in 1917. She was told that as a woman, she was not a "qualified person."

In certain instances women were considered "persons." Although women were not eligible to become Senators at this time, many held positions as lawyers, judges, politicians and other public officials. Some women were allowed to vote.

Manitoba became the first province in which women could vote in 1916. Women were given the right to vote federally in 1918. However, this right was not granted to all women. Women in Quebec were not given the right to vote provincially until 1940; Asian and Indo-Canadians could not vote federally until 1947, and aboriginal women were only given this right in 1960.

Between 1917 and 1927, five governments expressed support for the appointment of a female Senator, but reiterated that the law stated that only "qualified persons" were eligible, and that this definition did not include women.

In 1927 Emily Murphy joined forces with Nellie Mooney McClung, Irene Marryat Parlby, Louise Crummy McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edward. These women, now known as "The Famous Five" challenged the Supreme Court of Canada with the question "Are women persons?"

The Supreme Court of Canada answered no, stating that only male pronouns were used in the British North America Act, so obviously they did not refer to women. The determined women took their case to Canada's highest court, the Privy Council in England.

On October 19, 1929, the Privy Council announced that yes, Canadian women were indeed considered persons. This decision paved the way for women to enter a domain previously open only to men.

The first Senate vacancy occurred in Ontario the next year. Prime Minister MacKenzie appointed Cairine Reay Wilson as the first woman Senator.

Although few women have gone on to serve as Senators, this ruling symbolizes the right of women to participate in the decision-making process of our nation, and limits gender-exclusion in our Constitution.

Here are a few other milestones for women in Canadian politics:

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Dawson's Link with Lancieux

by Larry Bagnell
Used by permission of the author and the Yukon News


Larry Bagnell visits the grave of Robert Service in Lancieux.

Bathed in sunshine and the fragrant ocean breeze, the spectacular beauty of Robert Service's home village in northern France hadn't changed a bit. But the warm "home coming of hugs and welcome" was entirely different from that lonely day in 1996, when I first got off the bus in this small Brittany town looking for the Service homestead and his daughter Iris Davies.

We were met by Marie Dagorne, perhaps the last person alive met by Yukoners that knew Robert Service, and school teacher Marie Conan, who have kept the dream alive for many years of this link with the Yukon that was finally about to be created this week.

With the tremendous dedication and work of Yann Herry, 23 bilingual Yukon children were here in this picturesque French coastal village, presently walking and swimming on this beautiful sand beach on the English Channel, where Robert Service used to walk and construct rhymes.

It was almost dreamlike, that what we had all hoped and worked for, for so many years, was now a reality. In the afternoon the students were taken on a bus tour of town where Robert Service spent the summers of the later half of his life. They passed the church where he had funded a war memorial to the town's war heroes, and where his own funeral took place. Legend has it that the driver of the carriage carrying his coffin after the funeral, stopped at the adjacent pub for a refreshment before continuing to the gravesite; a touch Robert Service would have loved.

Then, the over 30 of us walked down the street named after him to his house that he called "Dream Haven" where Marie Conan and myself explained some of the history of the villa, still a private family heirloom. Periodically, a playful great-grandchild of Robert Service would poke her head over the wall then run and hide in the bushes on the compound. It reminded me of the teasing glimpses Robert Service presented to the world of the characters and romance of the great Klondike Gold Rush.

The stately seaside villa, high on the cliffs overlooking the ocean, provided a spectacular view. A whole row of shuttered windows along the oceanside ensured that the Yukon rhymester was constantly bathed in the rhythm of the waves rolling onto Brittany beaches below.

Unfortunately, when you translate his clever rhymes, they, of course, no longer rhyme, drastically lessening the importance of the verse in another language.

For this reason, Robert Service was known as a kind man and benefactor amongst the citizens of Lancieux, but many did not understand that they had a world famous poet living amongst them in their little country village in the north of France. That is why it is in heroine proportions for Yukoners, what Marie Dagorne has done in this village to expound the greatness of his works and keep his memory alive.

The bus next stopped at his gravesite, where the most moving ceremony of the trip took place for me. At the gravesite of Robert Service and his family, Yukon children sang a song about the Yukon in English, French, and Southern Tutchone. For the first time in almost half a century since his death, Yukoners had traveled to France and paid tribute to the man who has given us so much.

The next day, a few miles away, we were all hosted at a reception in the City Hall inside ancient fortifications of St. Malo, the hometown of Jacques Cartier, where he departed from on his voyages of exploration of Canada. We received gifts on behalf of the Mayor of St. Malo, and Mayor Glen Everitt and Councillor Edith Fraser and others presented gifts from Dawson City, the Tr'ondek Hwech'in, and the Yukon. Yet another tourism link had been made that would result in people from this part of France journeying to Dawson and the Yukon for the first time.

After visiting the country villa home of Jacques Cartier, we returned to prepare gifts and speeches for the culmination of the celebrations, an amazing reception in the town hall of this little coastal village. And it was spectacular beyond any hopes we had. The little Town Hall was suitably decorated with Robert Service posters brought by Yann Herry's Yukon group, and Marie Dagorne's French poster from the Robert Service celebration that she organized last decade.

Over an hour of ceremonies, and presentations, and exchanges of Robert Service memorabilia and gifts to the Yukon children and everyone else was followed by enjoying the produce of Bretagne's countryside. President Glen Everitt of the Association of Yukon Communities, presented gifts from Dawson City, and students performed the twinning ceremony of Whitehorse and Lancieux with the Mayor of Lancieux. Flags were exchanged that will fly one day each year in the respective communities. Councillor Edith Fraser of the Tr'ondek Hwech'in presented a beautiful dream catcher to the Mayor and people of Lancieux. Both Councillor Fraser and Mayor Everitt were the focus of many pictures as they were beautifully attired in their traditional dress with the magnificent chain of office of Dawson City.

As the celebration was entirely in French, the villagers dressed in their finery this sunny afternoon could enjoy everything. Many, for the first time, were exposed to the fact that, in that quiet coastal village, living amongst them, was a world famous writer.

As the celebrations spilled outside into the warm sea breeze you could feel the success from exuberance of the celebrations as the Yukon students spontaneously danced in the parking lot.

That night, a surprise dinner was held by the people of Lancieux for the Yukon group. Again, with numerous courses of delicious French cuisine, the 35 or so Yukoners benefited from the warmth and hospitality of the Bretons. The entertainment was a local dance troop demonstrating the ancient costumes and dances of the Bretons. Soon the Yukoners were up, and everyone was dancing together with the joining of the customs from two regions. It was obvious then that finally after 80 years, the natural link had finally been made with those who so kindly invited Yukon strangers into their homes.

Marie Dagorne, now in her 80's, who used to play with Robert Service's daughter at Dream Haven, then told the Yukon students stories of Robert Service that no Yukoners have ever heard, directly from someone who knew Robert Service. One day, these children will be the only Yukoners to have heard these stories. I presented Marie Dagorne and Marie Conan some Klondike Gold as a gift of thanks for all they had done and for our years of friendship. In a recent letter I received, Marie says she wears it with pride every day.

People could feel from the heartfelt parting, that citizens of two of Robert Service's far-flung lands, who, until a few days ago, had never met each other, had created a bond that would go on for generations, and as Marie Conan said," hopefully forever".

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