Yukon News

Peel consultation report omits numbers

Jacqueline Ronson Friday April 5, 2013

Mike Thomas/Yukon News

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Duo Lakes in the Peel watershed area, near the Snake River.

After one of the longest public consultations in the territory’s history, we now know that Yukoners have a diversity of opinions on what should happen to the Peel watershed.

The government won’t say how many people are on one side of the issue or another.

“We heard from a number of Yukoners who want to see a significant degree of protection in the Peel region,” said Environment Minister Currie Dixon. “We heard from others who want to see parts of the area left open for potential economic development. ... There was a real diversity of input we received, and we’re going to take it all into consideration.”

The government released a “What We Heard” report on the consultation yesterday.

The four major perspectives seen through the consultation were that the Peel is an irreplaceable global asset, that the planning commission’s final recommended plan is fair and balanced, that the Yukon government is not following the rules, and that the government must balance development with protection.

The NDP Opposition is pleased to see the government admit that these are the things Yukoners have been telling them all along, said NDP leader Liz Hanson.

“When they say in their own press release that the four major themes talked to the importance of the Peel watershed as an irreplaceable global asset, and the view that the final recommended plan is fair and balanced - nobody has been saying anything other than that except the Yukon government. And it also reinforced the very strong perception that the government isn’t following the rules.”

What the report does not say is how many people expressed these views.

When asked why the document does not specify how many respondents fell into each of these perspectives, Dixon responded that all of the raw data is available on the consultation website.

“I believe we’ve posted every single thing we received online, so you can see them all online,” said Dixon.

But the consulting company paid to write the report has already done the counting. It’s just that the numbers are not being released publicly.

An official with Energy, Mines and Resources confirmed in a email that the company was asked to develop a coding framework, code all responses, and analyze that data.

That would involve counting every single time someone mentioned any of the themes that came up through the consultation.

So why are those numbers omitted from the document?

The report itself explains the choice.

“This document is a summary of all the written input that was provided by the public as part of the consultation process. It is not a statistical analysis and the numbers associated with the various thematic summaries found throughout this document serve only descriptive purposes. The various consultation materials circulated to the public and the public responses do not constitute a survey from which statistically significant inferences can be made.”

Yet there are no “numbers associated with the various thematic summaries,” even for descriptive purposes. If they ever were a part of the document, they no longer are.

So, for now, the public will not know how many people told the government to accept the final recommended plan, and how many told them to reject it, unless someone goes back to the original data and does the work the consultants were paid to do all over again.

Here, in no particular order, are the key themes that emerged through the consultation.

* Accept the final recommended plan

* Reject the final recommended plan

* The Peel watershed is an irreplaceable wilderness ecosystem

* The final recommended plan is a fair, balanced and a reasonable compromise

* The final recommended plan is neither balanced nor fair

* Respect the Umbrella Final Agreement

* Process has been undemocratic and disrespectful

* Exhibit courageous leadership

* Future land-use planning has been undermined

* Roads and wilderness are incompatible

* New designations and concepts are not a land-use plan

* Unhappiness with the open house consultation format

* Preference for 100 per cent protection of the Peel watershed

* Opposed to the Restricted Use Wilderness Area designations

* Support for the Restricted Use Wilderness Area designations

* Support for the Yukon government proposals

The government received 2,127 submissions through the consultation process, of which 82 per cent were from Yukoners. In addition, petitions and postcard campaigns generated 8,048 signatures, of which 87 per cent were from outside the Yukon. All submissions can be viewed at http://www.peelconsultation.ca.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

14 Comments

Brian Werlin wrote:
9:11am Thursday April 18, 2013

The mining industry wants us to think of all the job that will not come to be if the Peel is protected to the extent that the Commission recommended. As we know, the mining industry is falling over itself to aquire foreign workers to work their mines. These people will be flown in and out of our territory and not spend any of their wages locally. Without wages being spent locally, where is the economic benefit for Yukon? Do we have more families living here? Are our communities strengthened? Is our tax base increased? Finally, what’s with the withholding of the number of responces received? An attempt to fudge their own consultation is itself an afront to democracy,

flyingfur wrote:
8:36pm Monday April 8, 2013

Max wrote:  “Nevertheless, this ignores the fact that the majority of Yukoners have never been to the Peel Watershed and never will.”

Maybe that is true, but this should not negate our concerns about the protection of the Peel.  I’ve never been to the moon but that does not make it OK for you to blow it up.

bunjee girl wrote:
11:29am Sunday April 7, 2013

mlehner…..“However, most of us probably would accept a compromise, a balance between responsible development as well as protection.”......isn’t that what the final recommended plan is? Isn’t that what the results of the consultation confirmed?

Have a great day.

mlehner wrote:
12:10am Sunday April 7, 2013

I would venture to say that most Yukoners like having jobs and like having a good economy where they can put food on their dinner tables and not worry about not being able to afford rent and mortgage payments. I would also venture to say that most Yukoner (myself included) don’t want to see the Peel area “completely destroyed”. However, most of us probably would accept a compromise, a balance between responsible development as well as protection. I don’t see an issue with the Yukon government’s efforts in seeing that happen.

bunjee girl wrote:
11:27pm Saturday April 6, 2013

“Nevertheless, this ignores the fact that the majority of Yukoners have never been to the Peel Watershed and never will.” Sorry but can’t quite see the logic or relevance in that statement. Few have ever been to Antarctica, or the Amazon, but almost everyone recognizes their vital ecological importance, and that they need protection. Same with the Peel.

Max Mack wrote:
6:12pm Saturday April 6, 2013

A majority of Yukoners probably do support either complete protection or the final recommended plan (or some variation). That could easily be determined through a suitable random sample survey. Nevertheless, this ignores the fact that the majority of Yukoners have never been to the Peel Watershed and never will.

And, undoubtedly there was a large number of responses to the Yukon Government. However, the “numbers” will also include many people who replied in multiple ways. If the same person signed a petition, wrote a letter, and responded by e-mail, that’s not 4 people. That’s one person.

With an emotionally-charged issue like this, it is likely that there is a very large percentage of people who responded in multiple ways. And what about the thousands of responses received from non-Yukoners?

So, what do the numbers tell us?

friend of bunjee girl wrote:
5:22pm Saturday April 6, 2013

Reassuring to see the Yukon Party still intent in cutting its own throat.

bunjee girl wrote:
5:05pm Saturday April 6, 2013

The more the Peel planning process goes on the more depressing it gets. I for one will ask the Yukon Government to release all the statistics that my tax dollars paid for, and request my MLA raises the matter in the Legislature. I’d recommend others do the same. This attempt at trying to hide relevant information does us all a disservice.

OnSecondThought wrote:
4:28pm Saturday April 6, 2013

As a researcher, I feel some information needs to be added to the above article:

1) This opportunity for input was not a referendum and should not be interpreted as such. It lacked all the structure and limits of a referendum.

2) This collection of input falls under qualitative research; the first thing they teach you is that numbers from qual research are misleading and should never be used. To get meaningful numbers, you need to follow up with a quantitative survey.

But be careful what you wish for—quantitative surveys in such situations often reflect only who has the best PR machine. Revving up the machines to prepare for a referendum or significant quantitative survey would be a great way to fan the fires of ongoing, polarized conflict.

Setting aside the specifics of the Peel, is this kind of conflict with winners and losers really our vision for Yukon society?

Maybe it’s time to reshape the discussion. Perhaps we should ask what kind of attitude and relationship we want our children to have with people who think differently from them.

Respectful? Tolerant? Genuine dialogue to find common ground?

We’re not just forging the future of the Peel here—we’re forging ourselves and the future Yukon. To this point, it seems the key underlying value from both sides is “Our Side is right and beset upon; the Other Side is wrong and treacherous.”

It sounds positively medieval.

Paul Christensen wrote:
3:41pm Saturday April 6, 2013

Skeptic, expropriation is one thing, and you are correct.  IF the claims were expropriated, then there would be compensation, but its far more complex than Mr. Cathers implied in his comments.
Now in his statement in the leg. Mr. Cathers implied that we would lose if we denied access.  This is false, unless he is implying that a new precident is going to be set by the government in that mining companies can do whatever they want.  Access is denied all the time for a variety of reasons.  Indeed mines are denied, revised, delayed often.  Look at Fish lake in BC.  If the impact is too great or can’t be mitigated, no mine, or no access.  The owning of the mineral rights does not guarantee a mine.  Or profit.  Access can be granted in many different ways.  The PRPC recomended report does not deny access, but it does restrict access in some of the areas.  Thats still access, and restricted access occurs more often than not.  Restricted access is not denied access, just access with boundaries.
For minister Cathers to imply that we can’t restrict access, or implement any other restrictions or recomendations that may come out of any regulatory review process is incorrect.  For instance, if the review process determined that for the mine to go ahead, neither the Peel, the Snake/Bonnet Plume/Wind or Hart could have bridges on them, then thats the restriction.  End of story.  Chevron re-applys with other options.
We dictate to the mining companies, not the other way around.

Bobby Baker wrote:
8:01am Saturday April 6, 2013

Every government is gunna do things the way they want, if the NDP was in, 100% of it would have already been protected regardless of what the mining sector thought, and what it means to the territory fiscally. If you wanted more of a say maybe you should cast your ballots more appropriately last election… You can go on all you want about they didn’t technically have a majority in terms of those who voted against them but those people couldn’t get organized and lost under the current electoral system..

bobby bitman wrote:
2:53am Saturday April 6, 2013

We paid for the assessment by the consultants, and now I want the full report.  Does the public seriously have to hire our own analyst to count the responses because the Yukon Party does not want the information out there?  You can be sure that they know exactly what the numbers are.  This is absolutely pathetic, but I am willing to put my 50 bucks in the collection plate if that is what it takes to hold this Yukon Party government accountable.

I am surprised they even left the information in raw form ‘available online’.  Probably figured they dared not push their secrecy and agenda any harder than they are.

It seems that the consultants did a decent job of identifying the themes, now we have to find someone to attach numbers to those themes, again, so the Yukon public can see what the results of the consultation are.

I am beyond even being angry about this treachery, secrecy, and abuse of public funds on the part of the Yukon Party.  The arrogance and game playing has come to be expected.

Does the Yukon News have a reporter available to do this?  Like I said, I’ll pay the first 50 bucks if you state that you do.  I’ll come downtown and put it on the desk.  The Yukon Party is absolutely outrageous in their arrogance, and I’d like to show them that their games do not work.

Skeptic wrote:
11:32pm Friday April 5, 2013

What do you think happens when government expropriates a vested interest in land? Compensation! Not exactly a mystery. Everytime the government has had to expropriate claims for the purpose of protection in the past 15 years they have also had to pay for them. It has been brought up before in the this stupid process and the PTP factions reaction has been to utter the uniformed ‘the claims are worthless’ line. Reread your history, its on record. It was brought up before the staking ban was enacted when the commission new they would be calling for complete protection despite not having all the planning infromation in hand.

flyingfur wrote:
9:18pm Friday April 5, 2013

When it comes right down to it, any sensible person would quickly realize that the current Yukon government is absolutely full of shit on this issue.  They have pandered to their own interests and at every available turn “muddied the waters” on this issue to the point where nobody but their own devoted followers believe the BS anymore.  If Pasloski’s main concern was getting sued by Chevron then he should have said so earlier (i.e. the last election) rather than wait until now to bring it up.  The Yukon Party has deliberately ignored and misled Yukoners.

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