Fooling nobody

Open letter to the Yukon people: We would like to correct misleading statements by Yukon Party candidates regarding the Peel Watershed Land Use Planning process.

Open letter to the Yukon people:

We would like to correct misleading statements by Yukon Party candidates regarding the Peel Watershed Land Use Planning process.

The Yukon Party contends it would be irresponsible to speak to the recommended Peel Watershed Land Use Plan because of Chapter 11 of Yukon First Nation final agreements and the joint letter of understanding on the Peel Watershed regional land-use planning process.

This is false.

Nothing in our agreements or joint letter of understanding suggests it is inappropriate for governments to articulate their views on the plan prior to undertaking the final round of public and intergovernmental consultation.

In fact, as part of the planning process, all affected governments are expected to provide their positions on important planning issues – something the Yukon government has failed to do.

In 2009, the Peel Watershed Planning Commission recommended 80 per cent of the watershed be protected from industrial development. Subsequent public consultation indicated overwhelming public support for protecting the Peel.

In accordance with Chapter 11 of Yukon final agreements and the joint letter of understanding, affected First Nations provided a clear and unequivocal response to the commission:

“We believe that the entire region deserves the very highest level of protection. We encourage you to consider a modification of your recommendation so as to allow for the provision of special management area designation for up to 100 per cent of the region.”

The Yukon government, however, provided a vague response on the “form” of the plan (it’s long; there are too many land management areas) and avoided commenting on the substance, leaving everyone involved in the process wondering what the Yukon government’s views on the plan really were.

In July, the commission released its final recommended plan. It was shorter and contained fewer land management areas, but was otherwise similar to the 2009 recommendation, calling for 80 per cent of the region to be protected from industrial development.

Recognizing the hard work of the commission and the need to compromise to reach consensus, our nations endorsed the plan. As expressed by Chief Simon Mervyn, “It’s time to set aside our differences and work together. We’re willing to support the final recommendation in order to protect the core values of the Peel.”

First Nations have been very clear with respect to the Peel, but we have still not heard a clear statement from the Yukon government.

It is obvious the Yukon Party is avoiding the issue and hiding behind “process” to avoid divulging a position they know will not be supported by the electorate.

This is irresponsible.

Before casting their ballots, Yukoners deserve to know the position of the Yukon Party on the recommended Peel Watershed Land Use Plan.

The recent assertion by Premier Darrell Pasloski that implementing the plan would bankrupt the Yukon is misguided, verging on fear mongering.

The plan does not call for expropriation of mining claims. It is also interesting to note that the Yukon Party government allowed the number of mining claims in the Peel to quintuple during the planning process.

The next Yukon government will make a binding, permanent and irrevocable decision regarding the Peel Watershed. Unlike other important issues the next government will wrestle with, there will be no opportunity in the future to correct a bad decision on the Peel.

As stated by the Peel commission: “We can always decide to develop in the future, but once this decision is made, we cannot return to a pristine ecosystem and landscape – not in our lifetimes and not in the lifetimes of our great-grandchildren.”

It is not an overstatement to say the fate of the Peel Watershed will be determined by the outcome of this election.

We implore Yukon voters to obtain a clear statement from all candidates with respect to the recommended Peel Watershed Land Use Plan before casting your ballot.

Prior to casting your valuable vote, please give due consideration to those candidates who have a clear message on this important issue.

Eddie Taylor, chief, Tr’ondek Hwech’in

Simon Mervyn, chief, Na-Cho Nyak Dun

Norma Kassi, chief, Vuntut Gwitchin

Richard Nerysoo, president, Gwich’in Tribal Council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read