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Neil Hartling

‘Skate to where the puck is going’: TIA

The Yukon government is under pressure from the tourism industry to clarify what the upcoming season holds as operators struggle to keep their businesses open.

By Tim Giilck on February 26, 2021

The Yukon government is under pressure from the tourism industry to clarify what the upcoming season holds as operators struggle to keep their businesses open.

A letter to Jeanie McLean, the minister of Tourism and Culture, says “the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon (TIA Yukon) is pressing for an ‘Active and Alert State of Readiness’ to begin a soft opening at the earliest opportunity.

“We want our leaders to “skate to where the puck is going, not where it currently is,” association chair Neil Hartling writes.

In the letter, he pointedly asks McLean if the government is favouring a status quo that could see restrictions in place for years to come, or if it believes there’s a chance of tourism operators being able to do some business in 2021.

“If the goal is to ride-the-tail-to-zero before shifting from the mandatory isolation mode, we need to know ASAP, so that we can advise operators to cut loses, move to new careers and repurpose infrastructure,” Hartling writes.

“A scan of reputable reports on vaccine efficacy with variants supports the outlook that vaccinations will suppress transmission and lessen virulence.

“This combined with best-practices should soon get us to a sustainable flat-line. This jives with Dr. (Brendan) Hanley’s prediction a year ago, that we will have to learn to live in a world with COVID for years to come.

“The taper could conceivably take three or more years of minimal risk, until anything resembling a zero-transmission state is reached.

“This possibility underlines our need for ‘an Active and Alert State of Readiness’ for the appropriate time, metrics, and method to ‘step-off’ the curve.”

The association is asking for a so-called “soft-opening mechanism which would implement a vaccination-and-test combination ASAP, for a secure screening process, switching out the blunt instrument of 14-day isolation and a geopolitical opening like the ‘BC bubble’ and open to all qualifying Canadians with the new measure,” Hartling writes.

He wants “a measured, slow, intake of visitors, that will slowly grow over the year, re-uniting family members and allowing vaccinated Yukoners to travel.

“This will allow us to take ‘baby steps’ in opening and managing the process at the borders with the two-pronged approach of vaccination and test.

“The Yukon has an opportunity to be a leader and a model for the rest of the country when it comes to a safe reopening,” Hartling writes.

“But important questions have yet to be answered. What are the territory’s organizational needs for implementing the change from 14-day isolation?

“What HR needs, training, equipment and other organizational shifts are required to manage borders, testing, etc. under the new reality? Show us the plan.

“We are asking our leaders to meld science and medicine with political will and lead us out of this situation in a safe and timely fashion,” Hartling tells McLean.

Jonathan Parker, the assistant deputy minister of Tourism and Culture, issued this statement to the Star this morning.

“Despite the success we are seeing with Yukon’s vaccination program, new COVID variants and the continued ‘second wave’ in many Canadian and international jurisdictions have created uncertainty around how soon self-isolation requirements can be safely lifted for Yukon visitors,” Parker said.

 “The Department of Tourism and Culture is continuing to work with its partners in the tourism sector to balance the need for ongoing relief funding, while working toward full industry recovery when the time is right.

“As such, the department is extending tourism-specific business support programs, which were scheduled to expire on March 31, 2021, into the next fiscal year.

“These include $4M for the Tourism Accommodation Sector Supplement (TASS) and Tourism Non-Accommodation Sector Supplement (TNASS), and $450,000 for the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon’s ELEVATE business mentoring program (also previously set to expire on March 31, 2021),” Parker added.

Comments (32)

Up 26 Down 3

Tom Foolery on Mar 2, 2021 at 8:12 pm

Neil missed the net with his hockey analogy. The sad reality is both Tourism Yukon and TIA employees get paid 100% whether there is one tourist or one million and their biggest complaint is the cushy trips to New York, Europe etc...are on hold. They don't speak for the operators taking the losses.

The anti tourism petition in Dawson City last summer, signed by a number of senior Parks Canada people (who all got paid their generous salaries), is the perfect example of this entitlement mentality. What a farce. TIA's Executive Director doesn't even bother shaving anymore for the meetings he hosts. When all these people don't take tourism seriously but get fully paid in their toursim jobs, the industry is doomed.

Up 4 Down 5

SH on Mar 2, 2021 at 3:44 pm

I honestly disagree with most of what you said, but that's okay. Thanks for sharing your views. I won't be trying to convince you otherwise.

Up 28 Down 16

NickyB on Mar 2, 2021 at 2:35 pm

Wake-up people!! This plandemic will continue indefinitely until people say they've had enough and stop complying with these ridiculous restrictions that have no science or common sense basis. It begins with polite civil disobedience. Start by wearing your mask pulled down to only cover your chin. We must start resisting or this will never end. The LIBgov does not want this to end, they've never enjoyed so much power, and now they're drunk with the possibility of it never ending.
If you are on Facebook, then join Yukoner’s Against COVID-19 Lockdowns and help us put an end to this. Enough is Enough.

Up 9 Down 5

Stunned by the absolute mental incontinence... on Mar 2, 2021 at 2:11 pm

Dear SH - SMH! I am pretty certain we all got the metaphor - Planning for the future - SMH! If you have your head in the game, and it is a game that the world knows now is rigged, you would understand that planning for the future is a stupid and tortured idea that has resulted in catastrophic losses for millions of people.

You should read, Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. What we need are solutions and economies that focus on the present and are embedded in the present - Speculation has been disastrous for the world economy and it has untethered from any grounding in reality an economy based on tangibles to an economy based on nothing, backed by fiat, while slowly being shifted to 1 and 0’s through e-currency, e-banking etc.

With everything we know, we have seen, and we have experienced it would seem to raise questions about the general intelligence of the average person that they would continue to consent to such a system - FFS!
So thank you. I get the metaphor and understand it from multiple perspectives and I would now ask that you Wake Up!

We need a Gamestopper and a Gamechanger!

Up 20 Down 9

NickyB on Mar 2, 2021 at 1:44 pm

Why are we not in Phase 4 with no restrictions like the info at the YTG Covid webpage promised us? "Yukon will move to Phase 4 once a vaccine is ready or an alternative public health approach is available." Both conditions have been met.
The LIB gov is still lying to us and moving the goalposts again. They can no longer be trusted to govern honestly. It's becoming obvious they have no intentions of ending the restrictions.

I suspect they want to keep the restrictions in place to enable mail-in and on-line voting with no ID so they can cheat their way back in power like happened in the US.

Up 8 Down 2

HA on Mar 2, 2021 at 8:40 am

@MikeC... it seems the giant piece of ice is a natural process that has nothing to do with climate change. Check out this article:

"BAS said changes in the ice at the research centre is a "natural process" and said there is "no evidence that climate change has played a significant role.""

Up 2 Down 8

SH on Mar 2, 2021 at 8:26 am

"Stunned by the absolute mental incontinence..."
A metaphor can only go so far. When Neil says to "skate to where the puck is going", he is saying to plan for the future, not for the present. I'm not sure how you can equate this with "absolute mental incontinence".

Up 6 Down 1

Scott Stevens on Mar 1, 2021 at 6:39 pm

"Keep yer head up!"

Up 18 Down 3

Jim on Mar 1, 2021 at 3:26 pm

Just read that the campgrounds will be open early this year (may 1st). But will not be open to tourists. That should give all the tourism operators all the info they need. Without the courage to announce their intentions to the operators, the government announced it.

Up 29 Down 10

Hey Joe... on Mar 1, 2021 at 12:32 pm

Joe, Joe, Joe... These govvy workers will earn their money by voting Liberal in the next election. Quite simply they are unthinking servants of an amoral management class whose primary function is the lobotomization of the collective mind.

One of the ways in which this is done is through the use of emotion. It used to be that people were told to keep their emotions out of the workplace because there is no place for the self - Remain objective and clear minded.

Now we have managers who keep a copy of the book: Emotional Intelligence on their desk. One manager even sent out an email to everyone stating that people just needed to figure him out as there was no instruction manual for him - This is the new management - It is not about policies, procedures, law, or anything else - It is all about managements feelings, the feelings of your coworkers etc. - FFS!

So, it’s no longer about serving the clients needs but rather stroking the egos of your coworkers while ensuring that the biggest strokes go to management. This is the problem with the modern workplace as it encourages gossip, bullying, coercion, manipulation, and sociopathology because feelings are a lie we tell ourselves and others because we have no direct access to their origins.

They are the result of our perceptions about all of our past experiences both conscious and unconscious - It is not a healthy way to manage anything let alone an organization that is supposed to be above it all to serve the needs of its service users.

Their is no such thing as Emotional Intelligence!!! It is an idea that has been perverted by HR Departments, Corporations, and Governments to control otherwise intelligent people.

Basically, government work is a figurative if not literal cuckoldry of the mind.

Other than that... SFA!

Up 25 Down 22

iBrian on Mar 1, 2021 at 10:51 am

1) I’d like people to stop calling this Injection a Vaccine. It does not prevent you from getting the Covid. Therefore it’s just a injection of some juice that China has made just for you.
2) people need to wake up, the liberals just released more funding for tourism because they don’t plan to open the borders till end of Sept
3) $50 says the election will be in October
4) if your a operator in tourisim like I was, and have taken the assistance that you have to pay back and haven’t gone and seeked work in another industry, I don’t feel sorry for you. You're stupid. There's lots of jobs in the Yukon, so many we are bringing New Canadians up to fill them. Construction, Mining, Health Care to name the 3 top paying.
5) I wish everyone health and happiness; but if your in denial about all of this, then sink to the bottom. It shouldn’t be on my children to pay off your lack of acceptance.
6) the election can’t come soon enough and neither can the end of this BS mask requirements.
I don’t care if you disagree with me, your position offends me and at some point that has to count.

Up 27 Down 7

Darel K on Mar 1, 2021 at 8:26 am

If Neil assumes YTG is to "allow" tourism, he may as well tell everyone in the industry to close shop and look for new work. The only way back to normalcy is to take it back, otherwise YTG will use the unscientific "race to zero Covid" as an excuse to crush Yukon business indefinitely.

Up 43 Down 7

Joe on Mar 1, 2021 at 8:08 am

Why hasn't govy laid off any govy workers? What exactly are they doing for work? Better question - what exactly are these employees doing to earn the money they get paid?

Up 24 Down 7

DMZ on Feb 28, 2021 at 7:30 pm

I hope there's more pushback like this, otherwise I don't see any signs that this government and medical officials are even interested in seeing this pandemic end. The way they dawdled at starting the vaccine rollout (though they seemed to pick up steam) was weird, considering a few months ago they announced there was no end to this until a vaccine arrived.

Across the country, I see more restrictions all the time, when you'd expect with the vaccines arriving, that the end is at least in sight. There is an apparently endless parade of doctors sitting on their couches with a microphone in their face, telling us how hard they have to work and calling people "selfish" for daring to look for some normalcy. How many months can they keep saying, lockdown is "just two weeks"? Is there no kind of bar for letting absolutely anyone with a medical degree spout off on the news? How many epidemiologists are there? They didn't all graduate at the head of their class.

Because they are really muddying the waters. From one day to the next I don't know if the numbers are up, or down, if the vaccine is a positive sign, or something that we should get, even though it's not going to change a thing, according to their admonitions...so yeah, I think it's great if a few people want to remind politicians that they don't have a mandate to make this a way of life.

And with all due respect to Dr. Zimmerman, who wrote a letter to the editor telling everyone to be grateful, and scolding Tim Giilck for his quite wonderful and candid editorial -- most of us wanted more from life than "survival" in solitary. Kind of the point of the editorial.

Up 17 Down 6

yukoner82 on Feb 28, 2021 at 10:44 am

@ Tom Foolery and Proactive: I'd give you 50 thumbs up if i could. Exactly what I was saying for the last couple years. Other than whining and complaining Neil and Blake do nothing. Maybe pounding their chest... but that's a different story.

Up 62 Down 6

Jim on Feb 28, 2021 at 10:40 am

We have to realize that YTG carries on at full salaries no matter what stage we are at in this lock down. Most likely well over 50% of the work force is feeling no financial hardship and about 1/2 of those don’t even have to get dressed in the morning. It’s great for all those employed that way, but it also make government a little numb to those on the soup line like the tourism businesses. No matter how many fail, YTG tourism department is capable of idling along and whenever they feel totally safe they will open up. Government keeps saying we are all in the same boat, but nothing could be farther from the truth. If you wanted to test that theory, lay off all the non-essential YTG workers and just see how fast we would open up again.

Up 40 Down 4

HJ on Feb 28, 2021 at 7:14 am

Just seconding the comments from 'Enough'. It is enough, Phase 4 is here; or at the VERY latest once the vaccination target is met. There may need to be some pressure on the government for this.

Up 44 Down 8

Max Mack on Feb 28, 2021 at 6:15 am

There you have it, folks. The cat is out of the bag.

Government intends to keep us on lockdowns and restrictions until "zero" is achieved. But, zero can never be achieved . . . that's been known from the very start of this ordeal. An ordeal that has been going on for a full year now.

Summer is coming, when transmission and illness from coronaviruses is practically zero.
It's well past time to end the fake emergency.

Up 42 Down 5

Tom Foolery on Feb 27, 2021 at 7:38 pm

Its laughable that TIA is outraged when they have received tons of government cash (from Neil' and Blakes fellow Liberal buddy Larry Bagnell) and have been on a hiring spree since Covid hit, posting about priorities like replacing a TIA sign that looks exactly like the old TIA sign. I doubt TIA has a clue what it's like for their members. But hey, a weekly Zoom call and snarky press release is hard work.

And Tourism Yukon has a new ADM in an era with NO tourism? It's a bloated department with nothing to do and they have actually been hiring over Covid as well. What joke to the actual people in the industry who have been hard hit.

Why aren't either of these well paid organizations doing anything to promote the benefits of Tourism to a scared population? Or would that interfere with their zoom meetings at home?

Up 13 Down 31

MikeC on Feb 27, 2021 at 6:19 pm

Thomas..I think the world will be just fine if planes stop flying reduced flights for a while. Did you see the Venice canal after all the restrictions came in Italy? You could actually see through to bottom of the canal after all the motor boats stopped running for a while..maybe it’s Mother Nature stepping in and saying if you humans can’t fix this world then I’ll just step in. I’m not a big environmentalist but maybe us humans need to step back for a while and realize how much we’re screwing up this planet.

Oh yeah btw a chunk of ice the size of New York just broke off of Antarctica the other day but I guess it’s just a cycle as conservatives would say. We need to step back and start living a more simple life and stop worrying about my next double pumpkin spice latte.

Up 31 Down 5

Proactive? on Feb 27, 2021 at 5:20 pm

Has TIA done anything proactive over the last couple of years like update trail maps and the like or is all that's required is to get an office and cry crocodile tears?

Up 34 Down 7

TheHammer on Feb 27, 2021 at 3:59 pm

Take a look at countries where tourism is a major part of the economy. It's not all about arriving, it's also about leaving. Take Thailand for example, what measures are they taking to salvage the tourism industry? You want people to come to Yukon, What's on offer? Removing the word 'Sourdough' was a blow to tourism. Never thought about that one, did you?

Up 43 Down 25

Thomas on Feb 27, 2021 at 12:19 pm

in my opinion, I got scared more and more that something else, behind the scenes, is the real reason to keep us tirelessly in fear....the crazy world wide left agenda and their child heroes like Greta Thunberg with their.....the world will collapse if we don't stop flying around the world now and stop all the other, normal fun things, which includes tourism of course, now.
It always worked in history.....keep people in fear, so you're able to control them....
I really hope I am wrong......but what's going on these days is more than crazy and has to stop!!!
We want to be free again!!!

Up 41 Down 10

Groucho d'North on Feb 27, 2021 at 11:27 am

One has to wonder what the voluminous staff of Tourism & Culture were doing over the past year. I don't lay blame on the staff, as they depend on upper management and ultimately the Minister to point the direction to go. Available money wasn't the concern as they had $15 million, that we know about, from the feds, so what is/was the hold up?
I doubt this adminstration could run a Free Beer Night without screwing it up somehow.

Up 22 Down 14

Josey Wales on Feb 27, 2021 at 8:07 am

‘Skate to where the puck is going’ ?
Whistle blow...political interference creating a momentary lapse of reason.
Time in the box folks...is up to us, allegedly at the ballot!

Sounds great, however we are "mandated" to the penalty box and when we get back on the ice?
It will be in "mandated" broomball shoes, maybe without laces.
...other of course will be sporting sharp skates and have a hoop around them ensuring they never fall.
Next year..."they" will discuss the possibility of giving some stick and "allowing" a few others to buy their own.
...If the team SS is still in power, fully supported by their team idiot in Ottawa.

Consider this entire post a OJW PSA.

Up 51 Down 3

jack on Feb 27, 2021 at 7:23 am

You're supposed to play the man not the puck!!

Up 41 Down 13

Gistofit on Feb 27, 2021 at 3:24 am

I can’t believe Neil Hartling is repeating the WHO’s talking points about unproven ‘variants threats’ they use to justify prolonging covid restrictions. Now is not the time to abdicate to corrupt WHO & its conflicts of interest with big pharma.

Up 45 Down 12

Crunch on Feb 26, 2021 at 6:51 pm

Mr Hartling, there is not an MLA on the Liberal side who has a clue what you are referring to. Has one of them had a seasonal business which relies soley on the tourism dollar? They have no idea what you are talking about. They will play the hide and squirm game while these businesses go broke. Not one of them has the gumption to stand up for small business, they will hide behind their medical leader.

Up 59 Down 9

Enough on Feb 26, 2021 at 6:37 pm

A lady I spoke to on the street the other day, she was fully vaccinated, did not want to travel to BC. Said she was afraid of Covid. Ok. Enough. Hanley needs to educate the public, at least I think that is part of his job as a Doctor and as an expert in the field, the reason why we want to be vaccinated. It’s so we can be immune to the virus. Hanley and Sandy need to roll out phase 4. Look at the Yg website. We are in phase 4. There is no community transmission and by the end of April Yukon will have 70 percent or more of its population vaccinated. That is herd immunity. That’s back to normal life. Modena is effective against the variants. We can’t keep finding something else to keep government in control. We can not keep the border closed indefinitely. Tourism operators need some decisions, now! They aren’t on salary like the people holding them hostage.

Up 32 Down 2

Stunned by the absolute mental incontinence... on Feb 26, 2021 at 6:34 pm

Not that I am defending the Liberal government and all but skating to where the puck is going is bad hockey. We teach our children to play more strategically and to avoid bunching like grapes. But hey, this is the Yukon - OMG, LOL, WTF?

Up 38 Down 15

Tony on Feb 26, 2021 at 6:14 pm

My wife and I made Canadian lodging reservations last year for an upcoming motorcycle trip to Sturgis SD from Palmer, Alaska departing July 25, 2021. We are both healthy and have had both of our Moderna shots. We plan to fly back to Alaska after Sturgis. Our trip includes overnight stops in Haines Junction, Teslin, Northern Rockies Lodge, Ft Nelson, Ft St John, Whitecourt, and High River. So only 7 nights in Canada. We have made the same motorcycle trip several times in the past and are having a hard time understanding why Canada can’t find a way to begin opening up for people traveling direct with minimal contact like us. We would love to spend some money in Canada for food, gas, and lodging. Hopefully your powers to be will make it possible for what is considered non essential vacation travel.

Up 41 Down 14

Adam Smith on Feb 26, 2021 at 4:10 pm

TIAY now Chamber of Mines next week. Public after spring break. We have the vaccine, we followed the rules.. time to open up. Let's work together. No more back room decision-making Mr Silver!

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