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Bring Peel debate back to Earth

Bring Peel debate back to Earth Premier Darrell Pasloski and Minister Brad Cathers have each made statements about the likelihood of Yukoners being bankrupted by massive compensation claims from the mining industry if the Peel plan was adopted. As gover

Premier Darrell Pasloski and Minister Brad Cathers have each made statements about the likelihood of Yukoners being bankrupted by massive compensation claims from the mining industry if the Peel plan was adopted. As government ministers, they ought to know what they are talking about. However, there is a gap between what they ought to know, and what they are saying.

As ministers, they have access to good information, so the likely construction is that these are the words of politicians trying to mislead, scare, and manipulate the public. The claim that we would be bankrupted by compensation payments makes so little sense that it can only be political posturing. Shame, that they bring public policy to this level. We should be discussing real policy questions.

The Peel planning commission considered industry and government-sponsored reports that estimated the likelihood of the Crest iron deposits coming into production. All sources agreed that it was an extremely long shot - 50 years out at the earliest, and some extravagant assumptions about market conditions, technology, public subsidies, and social licence.

The commission concluded that it was illogical to frame a land use plan that guided the next couple decades around pie-in-the-sky, distant possibilities for the corporation that owned the Crest. We concluded that if society (and the corporation) ever needed surface access to this deposit, they can amend the plan to make it so. It is an unusual plan that denies the possibility of amendment. After all, the Peel plan was framed to preserve options, not slam doors.

Therefore there is no basis to claim compensation because of “de-facto expropriation.” This is nonsense and Yukon government ministers should know this.

David Loeks

Former chairman, Peel Watershed Planning Commission