Don’t believe the Yukon Party’s spin

Don't believe the Yukon Party's spin The definition of a "liar" is someone who deliberately misleads through falsifying, omitting, or distorting facts. Now consider the mailout sent by the Yukon Party executive to their membership concerning the Peel wa

The definition of a “liar” is someone who deliberately misleads through falsifying, omitting, or distorting facts. Now consider the mailout sent by the Yukon Party executive to their membership concerning the Peel watershed consultations. There is no delicate way to put this: the ugly label fits all-too well.

The executive warms up with a misleading innuendo, which leads the reader astray: that the Peel commission’s plan was based on “public consultation in which the vast majority of Yukoners did not participate.”

So? This is true of all public consultations. The statement omits to say that the commission’s planning process and consultations were well advertised, open to all people, and were unusually well attended by people from all walks of life. The chamber of mines and its supporters were regular and well-heard participants, and everyone’s comments were accessible.

Moreover, this most democratic of processes went on for seven years. Now tell me that this was not inclusive. Then tell me the current process is better. (Resources Minister Brad Cathers repeats the most egregious version of this lie: that only 370 people participated in the commission’s planning process. There were that many people packed into just one of the several Whitehorse public meetings! Goebbels would be proud of you, Brad!)

Continuing, the party executive swings into serious whitewash. It is a matter of public record that before the election, Premier Darrell Pasloski declined to offer an opinion on the Peel plan because it would prejudice consultations. This is fact. No matter that Pasloski talked publicly about hypothetical “problems” with the plan – it is simply not true that he was taking a stand. Pasloski said repeatedly he would not take a stand before the elections. All his discussions about the plan were vague – no position at all.

The executive happily passes along on deceit from the Yukon Party-controlled government. Like the make-believe “Restricted Use Wilderness Area.” Sounds respectful of non-industrial values, right? Wrong. In plain English, “wilderness” means no roads – but in government Newspeak, “Restricted Use Wilderness Areas” would be accessible to roads and development everywhere.

More nonsense: the combined footprint of all surface disturbances would be limited “to 0.2 per cent (one-fifth of 1 per cent, or 1/500th of the area).” This is impossible to square with the promise that all claims can be accessed, especially since this threshold has already been exceeded in some areas.

The best lie: the “Wilderness River Corridor.” Catchy title! It claims to prohibit new land uses within it! But in these corridors, roads can run the length of any and all rivers. In mountain country, roads follow the valleys. We, and the YP executive, know this.

Unable to quit, they promise to protect the rivers’ viewscapes with “specific measures”- which are not specified. And no wonder. They don’t exist. How do you preserve the “wilderness character” of a river with a road alongside it, in a valley less than a half-mile wide? If Brad and Darrell don’t know this is nonsense, shame on them and the people briefing them.

The Yukon Party executive should read P.T. Barnum’s dictum: “You can fool some of the people all the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”

Conrad Frieslander

Whitehorse