In recognition of National Volunteer Week 2016

Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I also want to rise and pay tribute to National Volunteer Week.

I want to talk specifically about my community. We had some great tributes here about the generalities, but I wanted to draw down on some specific volunteers in my town. It was employment that brought me to Dawson City, Mr. Speaker, but it was the spirit of volunteerism and the community involvement that made this vibrant community my home.

One of the first people that I met in the community was a guy by the name of Jason Barber. He was a city employee at that time and he spent tireless hours going above and beyond his position in the town. Because of his long-time volunteerism and also because of Parks, the city and Property Management, private businesses knew that anything he would borrow for whatever event that he was volunteering for, they knew he would take things back in better condition than he borrowed it. He had a key for every single building in the town. It was guys like Jason and others who really made me want to be part of that community.

At the same time, our current mayor, Mayor Wayne Potoroka, was the head of the “bull gang” for the Dawson City Music Festival my very first year in Dawson City. The bull gang — if members don’t already know — is the group of community members who spent a week or longer leading up to the Dawson City Music Festival setting up the grounds and the large tents for the festival goers. The group of volunteers who were on that bull gang my very first summer made me know that this was my home. The Dawson City Music Festival is put on mostly by volunteers and brings visitors from all over Dawson City and all over the Yukon who turn up and support this beautiful festival — Canada’s perfect tiny festival — which ends up making us a very unique community.

Whether it is the Klondike Visitors Association that puts on the annual Thaw di Gras festival in early March, requiring many volunteers and participants from our town, the volunteers organize events like road hockey tournaments, snowshoe baseball tournaments, dog and cat shows, chili cook-offs, tea-boiling contests and many others — all in the spirit of community and getting people out of their winter hibernation.

Another great example is the Sled Dawgs. It is a non-profit organization based in Dawson City that again relies on a number of volunteers to host such events as Trek Over the Top or the Yukon Quest. They maintain winter trails and they promote an active lifestyle in and around Dawson — again, made up of volunteers. I would like to take the opportunity as well to give one particular individual credit for his volunteer time: Steve Laszlo. Steve Laszlo is the local physical education teacher, and he coaches children of all ages in a variety of sports, filling almost every available weekend and evening. He is not only coaching students, but adults: women’s hockey teams and men’s hockey teams.

I think it’s important to recognize Steve for this reason. Steve is a teacher. His job ends every weekday at 4:00 p.m., but he and the rest of our volunteers believe in a community responsibility to go beyond the job description. The spirit of coaching teaches fairness and inclusion, while promoting a healthy lifestyle — all of which contribute to a healthy and a vibrant community. I’m very, very proud to represent the Klondike constituency, which has a vast number of community members who volunteer for a number of societies and organizations, all of whom deserve personal credit. The groups help and support the community, which has a profound impact on the quality of life for all of our community members.

To all of the volunteers, thank you very, very much for all of your work. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.