Whitehorse: An announcement that the private sector will take over tours of the S.S. Klondike and Dredge #4 is disappointing but not a surprise, says Klondike MLA Sandy Silver.  He says it is simply confirmation our Member of Parliament was unable to convince his bosses in Ottawa to reverse cuts made a year ago at Parks Canada.

After waiting a year the announcement isn’t really an announcement at all.  It’s just ‘Downloading 101’,” said Silver.  “Our MP and the Yukon’s Minister of Tourism really have nothing to show for a year’s worth of lobbying.  There are no other options left because the Government of Canada is fixated on cutting front line services.”

Silver is also disappointed that tourism stakeholders were not kept in the loop as promised by our M.P. during a January 21st conference call.

“The Mayor of Dawson, the Mayor of Whitehorse, the Klondike Visitor’s Association, myself and the Tourism Industry Association all participated in the original call and were promised open lines of communication until a solution was found,” he said.  “We all learned about the contents of the announcement when it was made.  Where is the co-operation?”

The Klondike MLA says he is baffled why the Government of Canada waited until the 11th hour to decide to let private companies runs tours this summer.

“The government has left potential operators almost no time to prepare and should have made this type of announcement months ago,” he said.  “It’s a last minute rush that could have been avoided if the Government of Canada had actually worked with local tourism organizations.” 

The announcement also confirms that curation positions at Parks Canada will not be restored.  This leaves no one on the ground in Dawson City to look after the extensive artefact collection.

“In our January 21st call our MP agreed this was a legitimate concern and promised to keep working on a solution to these cuts and I have heard no reassurances on this specific concern,” Silver noted.  “The announcement confirms our MP has given up the fight on this issue and is prepared to accept what is dictated to him by Ottawa.  In his enthusiasm to commend our M.P. our Minister of Tourism has not made any mention of solutions to the question of maintaining our heritage.”


For additional information contact:

Jason Cunning 667-8942