The Wider World THE YUKON TERRITORY
A. ROTHWELL M.A., M.B. Camb., D.C.H. EVEN in Canada it is by no means easy to get useful information about the Yukon. In the larger towns most people have only heard of the place, and know nothing about it. Indeed, many think that it belongs to the United States and is part of Alaska. Workmen who have been there can seldom convey an idea of what it is really like. Much of the material to be found in libraries is not up to date, for conditions are changing rapidly. *
of Canada, roughly triangular in shape, lies to North of latitude 60° N., which is its the entirely the Province of British Columbia. To with boundary the West is Alaska, which is part of the United States, and to the East stretch the Northwest Territories of Canada. The Yukon itself is a. plateau with the watershed of the Ogilvie Range of the Mackenzie Mountains lying roughly transversely to the North of its central portion, and it is crossed by valleys whose bottoms are filled with muskeg from which the rivers drain, and where good fishing is to be had. The hillsides are surprisingly well wooded, except where the trees have been destroyed by forest fires or have been cut by loggers for timber or by woodcutters for fuel. Scrub poplar, birch, and willow, and several sorts of spruce and pine, are to be found. There is so much sunshine during the short summer that many wild flowers grow to amazing size, and excellent raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries abound. The woods and scrub are full of small animals, This
bear may be met. The very pleasant summer lasts from sometime in June until sometime in September ; the between-seasons of thaw and freeze may last from four to six weeks each ; the rest of the year is winter. The winter is cold : Snag, in the West of the Yukon, is reputed to be the coldest place in all Canada, with temperatures sometimes 80° below zero Fahrenheit or even lower. In many parts of the territory temperatures 60° below zero are not uncommon. There is not much snow ; the rainfall is on so the whole the climate is dry. But there is slight ; to fill the rivers that flow into the Yukonwater enough the local Indian word for Greatest River.' *
The country was first travelled by officers of the Hudson’s Bay Company who were interested in the fur trade and who established trading posts. Owing to the lawlessness prevailing when the mines were being developed during the last decade of the 19th century, the Yukon in 1895 became a district of the Northwest Territories under an inspector of the Northwest Mounted Police. The Yukon Act of the Canadian parliament created the separate Territory in 1898, to be administered by a commissioner appointed by the Dominion government itself. In effect, the Yukon Territory is a dependency or colony of Canada. Dawson City of Klondike fame, the former capital, is steadily decaying despite considerable seasonal production of gold by the dredgers each summer. An increasing number of sightseers are attracted to it by the reputation of the fabulously wicked city of fifty years ago. Indeed, Discovery Day, Aug. 20, is still the most important bank holiday of the Yukon Territory. Whitehorse, the new capital, is now the big town, and more than half of the Yukon’s population of 10,000 live there. It is the chief town of the Alaska Highway which is doing much to
open up a territory of more than 200,000 sq. miles for future development. A small and inconvenient railway, which is fast approaching its maximum carrying capacity, connects it with the Alaskan port of Skagway: and it has a large and growing airport. About the centre of the territory is a base-metal mining area which is being actively explored for further ores of value, and which therefore has a rising population. *
For communication with the world outside, this central used to rely on stern-wheel paddle-steamers plying the Yukon and its tributaries, and pushing barges before them during the short season of navigation from late June to early October. But this method of carrying traffic was slow, cumbersome, costly in damage and in losses, uncertain, and therefore very expensive. During the winter one might travel with a dog-team and sledge. Nowadays aircraft carry more and more of the passengers, mail, and goods. About three years ago a new road was constructed from Whitehorse to Mayo Landing, about 350 miles : in summer there are powerful ferries at the three big river crossings, and in winter one travels along a good snow road with well-maintained ice bridges. But even this road cannot be used during the four to six weeks of break-up in spring, and the similar period of freeze-up in early winter. Prices are still high : petrol in ’Whitehorse costs about a third more than in Edmonton, and at the more isolated distribution points about double the Edmonton price. Other kinds of goods, including food and spares of all kinds, which ' come in from the outside world are also expensive. The local idiom is still to ' come in'to, and to ' go out ' from, this area so recently opened to modern travel. area
A few old-timers of sterling worth have survived from the days of the Klondike gold rush that put this part of the world on the map. In their old age many of these men are in comfortable circumstances, having sold mining claims of considerable potential value in view of the importance of lead compounds in increasing the efficiency of petrol. They tell amazing stories of the stirring times of fifty or sixty years ago. There are also many alcoholics. Generally they are younger than the genuine old-timers, whom they outnumber. Either the environment is -favourable to the development of this disability, or sufferers and potential
1089 .sufferers gather in the land and fail to move out again. Other misfits of society are also prominent, such as those who have failed to get on with wife or family, or who -have got on too well with somebody else’s wife. Many men suffer from lack of success elsewhere, or are of plainly inadequate personality. - They may have exhausted -their social benefit, and then have drifted via ' skid row ' (the place of the down-and-out of Canada) to be hired for some construction or mining task in the North. These men work unhappily and incompetently until they lose their jobs or have enough money to go on holiday again. They are numerous, and their lot is made no ,easier by the men who supervise them, who are no .doubt competent in their own skilled occupations, but who lack the understanding that is necessary to make a The quality success of handling poor human material. of this labour, the way it is handled, and the effects of the consumption of too much liquor over short periods and long, together make the most difficult problem of the present day. The solution is neither apparent nor
apparently being sought. On the other hand wages are high, and a man may make a ' stake ' in dollars that will enable him to lay the foundation of success elsewhere. Even the labourer may do this. The skilled workman may more readily succeed because of the lack of skilled men. Some of this group have come to the Yukon and discovered a love for the North country that holds them there with the prospect of long enjoyment, and these men will be the excellent old-timers of the future. *
In the whole of the Yukon three or four doctors practise, and the Services have their own medical staff in Whitehorse and along the Alaska Highway. When there was no civilian dentist in the region people might go to Edmonton or Vancouver, each about 1700 miles away, for dentures and dental repairs. But recently a dentist has come into the Yukon with a large caravan that is his mobile surgery to travel the highway in season. Whitehorse has a hospital, and there are small hospitals - equipped according to their size and situation in the two other populated places. Thus the way of life of a doctor in the Yukon is indeed general practice, and his results depend in no small degree upon the stuff of which his patients are made. There is even some State medicine, for the Indians are wards of the Dominion government, which pays the doctor a fee for each service on their behalf. These Indians are good patients, most of them fully cooperative in their treatment, and appreciative of But history-taking the attention which they receive. may be difficult when the patient is a man of few words and little English. The officer appointed by the Dominion government to look after the interests of the Indians is the Indian Agent, and he is a fine friendly humane welfare-worker, doing a job well that is far from easy to do. The other social worker for the populace is the Mountie ; for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are the successors of the Northwest Mounted Police of the turn of the century. Serious crime fortunately is not common. From time to time a vehicle may go off the road, an aircraft may become overdue, an old-timer living in some remote place may receive a visit, and the alcoholic may finally drink himself to death. The pattern of disease is not unlike that in Britain today. The exceptions are, impetigo, which is common, And hypertension, which is rare. Many elderly men still live in the cabins that they and their partners built many years ago ; so perhaps the potential hypertensive does not survive in these surroundings, or perhaps the soil lacks the hypertensive factor ! Deficiency diseases are rare in the present prosperity, for most of the transients are fed by their employers, and the
permanent residents know how to look after themselves from long experience. One trapper of my acquaintance, a stalwart Yugoslav widower, disappears each October until the following June and lives alone at the end of a distant lake upon the wildlife of the country, with the help of evaporated milk and tea. But he takes a thousand tablets of ascorbic acid as part of his regular stores, for even recently the knowledge that the bachelor was more prone to deficiency diseases than the man who was not unaccompanied, was associated with the belief that a man could prevent scurvy by taking a squaw. *
This Yukon Territory is the Land of winter where old King Zero reigns supreme for the greater part of the year. The dryness and the stillness of the air contrast with the damp cold winter of the British Isles where the weather is much more stormy. A log cabin warmed by a wood-burning Yukon stove can be very snug. Mukluks upon the feet in as many layers of 3/foose hide as may be needed keep out the cold as efficiently as lined flight boots and are even more comfortable, but the skin must be kept dry by well-ventilated clothing, for sweat freezes readily and leads to frostbite. It is a fabulous country, as its own chronicler, Robert W. Service, has made clear.
Medicine and the Law Spinal Anaesthesia hearing lasting eleven days, allegations of in the administration of spinal anaesthetics negligence were dismissed on Nov. 12 in a reserved judgment by AFTER
Mr. Justice McNair.’ Two labourers were admitted to the Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Royal Hospital In both cases for minor operations six years ago. Nupercaine ’was injected intrathecally on the same day. As a result, each of the men had the same symptoms ; their conditions pursued much the same course ; and both became permanently paralysed. They sued the Ministry of Health (as trustees of the hospital) and the ’
visiting ansesthetist, alleging negligence
in the administering of the anaesthetic ; they also sued the company which manufactured the nupercaine, alleging that it had negligently permitted a harmful substance or irritant to be present in the anaesthetic or in the ampoule. At the close of the plaintiffs’ case the manufacturers were dismissed from the action, it being agreed that the company was not legally liable. An eminent witness for the plaintiffs had accepted in crossexamination a suggestion that nupercaine was ' as good a spinal anaesthetic as you can get.' The court had to decide, if it could, between some conflicting medical evidence on the cause of the plaintiffs’ paraplegia. It had to determine the legal responsibility of the Ministry, the anaesthetist, and the hospital staff in relation to one another ; and it had to deal with the plaintiffs’ contention that the facts spoke for themselves (in the forensic phrase res ipsa loquitur) in such a way as to impose upon the defendants the burden of proving that they had not .been negligent, thus displacing the normal duty of plaintiffs to establish their allegations. It must have been an important element in the case that standards of anaesthesia applied in 1947 could not be expected to take account of later theory or research. Mr. Justice McNair was satisfied that the method of injecting nupercaine by lumbar puncture was widely practised in 1947 before the development of other relaxant drugs. No charge of negligence, he said, was based on the adoption of this method for the two operations in
Times, Nov. 13, 1953.
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|Rank||Jurisdiction||FSI - Value6||FSI Share7||Secrecy Score4||Global Scale Weight5|
|9||British Virgin Islands2||619.14||1.82%||71||0.50%|
|10||United Arab Emirates2||605.20||1.78%||78||0.21%|
|43||Isle of Man||258.34||0.76%||65||0.09%|
|68||St. Kitts and Nevis||162.25||0.48%||75||0.01%|
|89||US Virgin Islands||117.03||0.34%||74||0.00%|
|92||Turks and Caicos Islands||114.32||0.34%||78||0.00%|
|114||St. Vincent and the Grenadines||57.72||0.17%||66||0.00%|
|122||Antigua and Barbuda||39.05||0.11%||76||0.00%|
|127||Trinidad and Tobago||29.63||0.09%||65||0.00%|
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|Footnote 1: The territories marked in dark grey are Overseas Territories (OTs) and Crown Dependencies (CDs) where the Queen is head of state; powers to appoint key government officials rest with the British Crown; laws must be approved in London; and the UK government holds various other powers (see here for more details: www.financialsecrecyindex.com/PDF/UnitedKingdom.pdf). Territories marked in light grey are British Commonwealth territories which are not OTs or CDs but whose final court of appeal is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London (see here for more details: http://www.taxjustice.net/cms/upload/pdf/Privy_Council_and_Secrecy_Scores.pdf).|
|Footnote 2: The FSI Value is calculated by multiplying the cube of the Secrecy Score with the cube root of the Global Scale Weight. The final result is divided through by one hundred for presentational clarity.|
|Footnote 3: The FSI Share is calculated by summing up all FSI Values, and then dividing each countries FSI Value by the total sum, expressed in percentages.|
|Footnote 4: The Secrecy Scores are calculated based on 20 indicators. For full explanation of the methodology and data sources, please read our FSI Methodology, here: www.financialsecrecyindex.com/PDF/FSI-Methodology.pdf|
|Footnote 5: The Global Scale Weight represents a jurisdiction's share in the global total amount of cross-border financial services. For full explanation of the methodology and data sources, please read our FSI Methodology, here: www.financialsecrecyindex.com/PDF/FSI-Methodology.pdf|
|Footnote 6: For jurisdictions marked with 1, we provide special narrative reports exploring the history and politics of their offshore sectors. You can read and download these reports by clicking on the country name.|