Lewis Rifkind is a Whitehorse based part-time environmentalist. His work centres on Yukon recycling, energy and mining issues. When he is not winter camping or summer hiking, he collects stamps and spoils his two cats.
Northern communities are not, to steal a quote from the rich, like yours or mine.
For one thing, they are more Northern. And for the purposes of this blog Northern is defined as being in one of Canada's three territories.
In the spirit of full disclosure this particular blogger lives in Whitehorse. It is arguably one of the most southerly of Northern communities, both in geographic location and more importantly in on-site services and psychological outlook.
But being a community in the North usually means a degree of remoteness, and a lack of services, that other Canadians take for granted.
This could run the gauntlet of not having a community doctor to there being only one, or sometimes no, grocery store.
When the territory of Nunavut was created by dividing the old Northwest Territories into two political entities there was some discussion in the north about what the western half of the old Northwest Territories should be called.
The 'rest-of-it' was a popular choice, but no doubt cartographers breathed a sigh of relief when the Northwest Territories name was retained.
It is confusing, as the Yukon Territory is actually the western most territory in Canada, and the Yukon community of Beaver Creek on the Alaskan border is actually the most westerly community in Canada. Their strictly unofficial motto is "You're all easterners to us."
To befuddle things more, the Northwest Territories seat in the House of Commons is called the riding of Western Arctic.
The federal election for 2011 is well underway in the three northern Canadian territories. Not all the parties have put forth candidates yet, but it is anticipated this will be done by the end of the week. The issues these candidates will have to face from the electorate reflect the rather unusual circumstances of the Canadian North. Today's blog entry looks at the Yukon issues and candidates (the NWT and Nunavut will be covered in the next few days).