Open letter to Premier Darrell Pasloski and Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Brad Cathers:
I am writing to express my deep frustration and despair over your government’s handling of the Peel land use plan.
As a resident of the Yukon, I am left utterly dismayed by your government’s decision to abandon the results of the Peel land use plan, a five-year process that cost the public millions of dollars and countless thousands of hours.
As a member of a society that prides itself on its world-class democracy, I find it hard to believe that your government would dismiss the wishes of the majority of Yukon citizens by directly opposing results of a public process such as the Peel land use plan.
This action by your government makes me question whether we truly have a democracy in this country, when the ruling government can oppose the wishes of the majority and simply do as it pleases.
Perhaps it would do well for me, as a resident of Canada and the Yukon, to remind you that you are a representative of the people of the Yukon, not a dictator. Not only are your government’s actions anti-democratic, they are also fiscally irresponsible and could cost the public countless millions in lawsuits and abandoned land use plans.
Now that your government has betrayed the First Nations of this territory, we might expect that they will no longer support your government’s push for industrial development of all types without any planning or vision for the future.
The mistrust that you have created will no doubt lead to increased economic uncertainty, similar to that which existed prior to the signing of the Umbrella Final Agreements.
The First Nation governments could retaliate by drastically slowing down the regulatory processes as they seek extended timelines for project assessments and begin pulling their support for projects backed by the Yukon government. These types of uncertainties and delays could add up to millions in lost revenues.
In addition to the economic uncertainties, you have now created incredible environmental uncertainty.
Your government forges ahead with unprecedented resource development and no land use plans, essentially stealing resources from current and future generations as you arbitrarily place mining and oil and gas development ahead of environmental and social stewardship.
This lack of direction and vision will lead to massive misallocations of resources such that many of our public (non-market) resources, such as fresh water, will be grossly undervalued and irreversibly damaged. When you consider the enormous risks this poses to present and future generations, it is clear that your government’s actions are truly reprehensible.
I ask that your government please respect the wishes of Yukoners and support the final recommended plan for the Peel watershed. You had plenty of opportunity to provide input during this process and you chose not to.
If the First Nations decided to change the plan at this stage in the process, your government would most certainly call foul and ignore their demands.
So, with all of that said, I hope that you will consider my concerns as I will be sure to consider your actions at the next election.