Looking east from Lantau Island it is hard to see the other islands just offshore. It is another heavy smog day in Hong Kong and I miss Yukon’s clear blue sky and crisp air scented with the smell of pine trees. Temporarily transplanted to Hong Kong, we will be back in the summer.
It is heartening that Premier Darrell Pasloski will be listening carefully to Yukoners about land use planning in the Peel watershed given the tremendous response to the government’s proposal. I hope the premier can hear that those speaking for full protection and conservation in the Peel are not anti-mining.
He will hear that for the past six years Yukoners of all stripes have voiced strong support for conserving and protecting these globally unique ecosystems. This arises not from wishing to deprive anyone of economic opportunity but to ensure the existence of wild natural spaces.
Mr. Pasloski may listen to those wanting roads in the Peel watershed and wonder how necessary it is given the small economic return. While wanting to make decisions on behalf of Yukoners he might, as he listens, hear a question arise as to why a minority who favour construction and mining should be allowed to have their activities permanently damage fully intact ecosystems. How can there be “balance” when one point of view wipes out the other?
If he listens carefully to the government planners he can hear whether or not they are certain beyond words that roads, mining activity, and wilderness conservation can coexist in this very unique area. After six years of careful analysis and careful listening, the Peel planning commission concluded they could not.
He must by law listen and consult with First Nations, who have lived here for millennia.
He will hear of their wisdom of living with the natural world and of their deep love for the Peel, as they have known it through time.
This deep listening may be hard to do given that the prevailing political wisdom is to create jobs and profits for some no matter what the cost. Three out of four of the world’s mining companies operate in Canada because of our permissive mining regulations and preferential tax structure.
He has a tough job and I wish him well. He also has an opportunity to share the results of his listening and questioning with us. We will all be richer for it.