Huge issues at stake with regulatory changes

Huge issues at stake with regulatory changes The past year that I have spent working as the lands manager and YESAA implementation worker for Liard First Nation has been challenging and exciting. I have spent much of my time attempting to come to terms

The past year that I have spent working as the lands manager and YESAA implementation worker for Liard First Nation has been challenging and exciting.

I have spent much of my time attempting to come to terms with the implications of a number of major court cases and victories for First Nations’ rights to their land and have been learning about a new regulation process for low level mineral activities.

One of the other major changes that I have been involved with has been changes to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act that have been put forth by the federal government.

I don’t think that it is any presumption to assume the myriad of changes is proposed to ease and speed up our environmental assessment process to encourage further resource development. However, having much more experience now about all of the challenges that our remote communities experience in facilitating adequate consultation, I have huge concerns about what the implications of these changes could mean.

The First Nations with signed land claim agreements are standing unified against this in a way I doubt the territory has seen since negotiations for the Umbrella Final Agreement was signed. I feel that for First Nations such as Liard that were never signatory to the UFA, the implications will be even further reaching.

Liard First Nation sits on a hugely wealthy traditional territory, with a couple of operating mines, potential for forestry and a large and relatively accessible natural gas basin. So far, however, benefits from these resources have not reached the community level, which is steeped in poverty and classic “fourth world” conditions pertaining to access to water, food and adequate housing that most Canadians take for granted. Liard First Nation is the perfect Yukon example of how Canada as a nation has failed to give equal opportunity to all of its citizens.

The issues are myriad, complex and interwoven. There are no easy or obvious solutions. However, it is time for us to stop ramming exploitation of natural resources as the only possible future for communities such as this. Hunting and the traditional lifestyle is one of the only means to keep remote community citizens healthy mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. If development is to occur, it must happen with careful planning with a view on both climate change and the future of the children of that local community.

Sarah Newton

Whitehorse

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

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley gives a COVID-19 update during a press conference in Whitehorse on May 26. The Yukon government announced two new cases of COVID-19 in the territory with a press release on Oct. 19. (Alistair Maitland Photography)
Two new cases of COVID-19 announced in Yukon

Contact tracing is complete and YG says there is no increased risk to the public

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on April 8. Yukon Energy faced a potential “critical” fuel shortage in January due to an avalanche blocking a shipping route from Skagway to the Yukon, according to an email obtained by the Yukon Party and questioned in the legislature on Oct. 14. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Energy faced ‘critical’ fuel shortage last January due to avalanche

An email obtained by the Yukon Party showed energy officials were concerned

Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys), the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. “Our government is proud to be supporting Yukon’s grassroots organizations and First Nation governments in this critical work,” said McLean of the $175,000 from the Yukon government awarded to four community-based projects aimed at preventing violence against Indigenous women. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government gives $175k to projects aimed at preventing violence against Indigenous women

Four projects were supported via the Prevention of Violence against Aboriginal Women Fund

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone

When I was a kid, CP Air had a monopoly on flights… Continue reading

asdf
EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse. Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting instead of 30 days to make up for lost time caused by COVID-19 in the spring. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Legislative assembly sitting extended

Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting. The extension… Continue reading

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Mad about MAD

Letters to the editor published Oct. 16, 2020

Alkan Air hangar in Whitehorse. Alkan Air has filed its response to a lawsuit over a 2019 plane crash that killed a Vancouver geologist on board, denying that there was any negligence on its part or the pilot’s. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Alkan Air responds to lawsuit over 2019 crash denying negligence, liability

Airline filed statement of defence Oct. 7 to lawsuit by spouse of geologist killed in crash

Whitehorse city council members voted Oct. 13 to decline an increase to their base salaries that was set to be made on Jan. 1. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council declines increased wages for 2021

Members will not have wages adjusted for CPI

A vehicle is seen along Mount Sima Road in Whitehorse on May 12. At its Oct. 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the third reading for two separate bylaws that will allow the land sale and transfer agreements of city-owned land — a 127-square-metre piece next to 75 Ortona Ave. and 1.02 hectares of property behind three lots on Mount Sima Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse properties could soon expand

Land sale agreements approved by council

Most Read