When I read the Yellowknifer headline on the issue of the national flags flying at city hall (“Yk council debates flying national flags,” Jan. 15), I instantly looked over at a colleague and shook my head.
I’m not from here either, but I’m not going to complain that my flag isn’t on every second available flag pole. I have more important things to do and I wonder if the same can be said for the folks at city hall.
Yellowknife is likely one of the most inclusive cities in Canada behind only Toronto in my mind. The story of Yellowknife having the record for most official languages comes to mind, but again I have little time to confirm this fact. You know what else is all inclusive to residents of this diverse city? The cost of living.
Being a business owner, I’m fortunate to be able to travel for work. This means many long conversations with taxi and Uber drivers, manufacturers, suppliers, and frontline workers from all over North America. There is a central theme to most of my conversations – people just want to work. They want to have more money in their pockets, they want to be able to experience more things, they want to find higher-paying jobs so they can spend less time working and more time living.
One thing I’ve learned in business is making more money is only half of the equation. The other half is managing expenses. This brings me to my point, is this really necessary or is there something else we could be paying these city employees to do in this short amount of time they have their meetings scheduled? Their wages are high, like many other employees in the city and their time is limited. After all, being a city councillor is a part time gig.
Ask people what the most concerning part of living in Yellowknife is. Most will say the cost of living. Ask people if they think Yellowknife could do a better job of being more diverse and more inclusive, I doubt anyone would dispute that we score high on both fronts. Ask 100 Yellowknifers what they think is more important, a debate about a flag from another country, or trying to figure out a way to lower the cost of living? I’ll leave it to your imaginations to decide the answer to that question.
My hope is that we will all remember when we think of these issues in the future, you are paying for these debates. It comes straight out of your pockets in the form of property taxes, parking tickets and meter money, utilities, dumping fees, etc. Who do you think pays for these things? With every debate about anything another than lowering the cost of living, you are literally increasing the cost of living!
We have to learn how to take the good with the bad. Is a debate about a flag from another country more important than acting on something that potentially lowers property taxes, or coming up with a genius solution to spending multi-millions of dollars on an aging pressurized sewer line or freshwater intake line? It isn’t to me.
I’m grateful for the opportunities Yellowknife has presented me with since calling it my home almost 20 years ago. The absence of a sign in blinking lights saying I am loved or wanted does not make me believe that Yellowknife is not inclusive of my interests. It just means there’s no sign. Am I willing to increase my financial contributions to the city to get this sign? Nope.