Rick Karp, right, speaks at an all-candidates mayoral forum sponsored by the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce on Thursday evening. (Claudiane Samson/Radio-Canada) The subject of homelessness and how to help Whitehorse’s most vulnerable people dominated this week’s all-candidates mayoral forum at the Gold Rush Inn.
Candidates talked about a range of topics at the debate, sponsored by the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce.
But a question about how candidates plan to support the city’s homeless elicited the most emotional response from residents.
One resident, Judy Lightening, broke down in tears as she thanked incumbent Mayor Dan Curtis for his answer.
"I thank you so much for what you said because they have lived through stuff that most of us couldn’t live though," Lightening told Curtis through sobs.
Curtis stood up and hugged Lightening after she spoke.
Here’s a look at how all four candidates answered the question, as posed by the chamber: "What is the plan for our vulnerable people?" Dan Curtis
Incumbent Dan Curtis was thanked by an audience member at the forum for his answer on vulnerable people living in the city. (Jackie McKay/CBC) "I think this is really a byproduct to residential schools. I think this is truly is a truth and reconciliation issue that we have to work very delicately with," Curtis said.
Curtis said he doesn’t believe in being "punitive" or fining people on the streets. He talked about the 2015 vulnerable peoples forum, held by the city in partnership with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, and said it had a "great impact."
But, he did not say if he plans on holding another event.
"Every single person in this room should be working for a solution," he said. "Not pointing blame and suggesting because they’re ill what has happened to them is their fault."
Curtis also spoke of his gratitude toward Kwanlin Dun for its efforts to help vulnerable people, but he didn’t offer any concrete suggestions on how he will support the First Nation as it continues to do that. Rick Karp
Rick Karp spoke of the Yellowknife sobering centre at this week’s forum, but did not say if this is a plan he would implement in Whitehorse if he is elected. (Jackie McKay/CBC) Rick Karp spoke about a meeting that took place this summer between the Chamber of Commerce, RCMP, and the deputy minister from the Yukon Justice Department, as well as other social organizations.
"I would look out of my office window just about every day in the afternoon and see people trying to walk down the street but having to hold onto the building. There’s arguments and fighting. It’s a serious situation," he said.
CBC News confirmed that this meeting took place — it was for business owners on Alexander Street to voice their concerns and share information.
Karp told the forum that at the meeting, he found that "RCMP are implementing their [officers on] bicycles, they recommend doing something called the wet house."Karp’s mention of a "wet house" refers to a sobering centre. There’s one currently operating in Yellowknife.Usually a "wet house" refers to managed alcohol programs — a harm-reduction strategy in which people with addiction issues are given regulated amounts of alcohol.A sobering centre, such as the one in Yellowknife, is a place for people to come and temporarily sober up with a place to sleep.Whitehorse has neither of these options.Karp did not say if he would consider implementing a managed alcohol program or a sobering centre if he is elected mayor. Colin Laforme Colin Laforme spoke about working together as a society to help come up with solutions to help Whitehorse’s most vulnerable people. (Jackie McKay/CBC) Laforme said the city […]
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