Dr. Doug Craig

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Dr. Doug Craig, a civil engineer with a PhD in geological engineering from the University of Wisconsin, died October 25, 2005, of a rare bone cancer. He was 71. Craig and his wife, Joan, came from Vancouver Island to Whitehorse, Yukon in 1969, for what was supposed to be a three-year stint but turned into a lifelong commitment to the territory.

He was the federal government resident geologist, then taught earth sciences at F.H. Collins Secondary School from 1979 to 1992. He and his wife were responsible for bringing wind generation to Whitehorse (two windmills on Haeckel Hill) as well as a recycling organics together society, known as ROTS.

One of Craig's many interests was the federal government's gun control program, which he thought was an infringement on human rights as well as a colossal waste of taxpayers' money. As a gun-rights advocate and a master with a pen, he wrote many newspaper articles and commentaries. One of his classics was an ironic piece about stepladders.

Statistics Canada indicated that falls accounted for 28 times more deaths than firearm accidents did. And presumably, said Craig, ladders were among the leading culprits.

"It is probably long overdue to place some restraints on these dangerous weapons. We shall start with registration. If that doesn't intimidate these ladder owners, we will get tougher laws yet.

"Those who have owned, cherished and used ladders for years without falling or being killed, may be understandably upset at having to get a ladder licence and register, and perhaps even having to give up their ladders. But for the good of the society, it may be necessary.

"Long ladders will be restricted when registering. That's because your government does not want to complicate things for ladder owners any more than the necessary minimum. They are only trying to make Canada a safer place.

"Stepladders, however, being shorter and easier to conceal, will be restricted ladders.

"And, anything more than a seven-rung ladder is considered excess by experts. They say eight-rung ladders are not needed by the ordinary citizen, so will be prohibited...although they may be grandfathered..."

With his wife, Joan, Craig kept the community gardens of the Downtown Urban Garden Soceity going and became president of the Yukon Agricultural Association. The pair received a Commissioner's Award for the community service.

Shortly after Craig resigned as the agricultural association's president in 2004, and obviously ailing from Parkinson's disease and the multiple myeloma that evidently had settle in his lower spine and was causing no end to terrible back pains, his high ethical standards and philosophy still shone through.

"I see the ethics as a subtle thing; it's partly in the eye of the beholder. Unethical conduct is not nice, but it's not illegal. It's one step before illegal. Not only should the letter of the law be carried out, but the appearance of the law should be fulfilled as well."

Craig is survived by his wife, two daughters--Pauline and Marion, and a son David, as well as their spouses and children. His funeral service was held at Christ Church Cathedral on October 29.

"Even those who leave a small footprint in life can leave a large one in their passing," wrote Yukon News reporter Graeme McElheran (Oct 31/05).

"Such is the case for pioneer conservationist, engineer and teacher Doug Craig. He was an environmentalist and engineer who saw the impact human civilization was having on Earth. Craig decided to do something about it. He was one of the first people in the territory to acknowledge the folly of unbridled industry and, with his wife Joan Craig, started promoting conservation."


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