Park animals and politics
Open letter to Kluane National Park management board on harvesting boundaries within the park and reserve:
Although there was a hastily called public meeting on Sunday evening, April 20th in Haines Junction, the fact that there were only five members of the public in attendance, a sole board member, and no written information to respond to, indicates that this topic did not receive the public discussion it deserves.
Although your recommendation to the federal minister will be confidential until a decision is rendered, it would appear the board intends to request that all no-harvest zones in Kluane National Park should be removed, allowing First Nations hunting anywhere within its boundaries.
While aboriginal harvesting rights are well understood and preserved by the land claims agreement, I expect there were a number of good reasons that no-hunting zones were conceived and agreed to, probably in recognition of the values of many non-First Nations Canadians, the concern for public safety, and the role of the park as an undisturbed source of supply of wildlife for this area of the Yukon.
The current no-harvest zones have the most popular trails and facilities and experience the most visitors.
Also, I expect that in the spirit of negotiations — in exchange for agreeing to no harvest in these areas — there would have been trade-offs in other parts of the agreement
As I stated at the meeting, I would recommend the no-harvest zones remain as originally negotiated.
The board was mandated to review this issue three years after the signing of the agreement. It was left much later and now no longer has the benefit of the input of those who originally negotiated for the concept of no-harvest areas.
By dealing with the matter almost exclusively behind closed doors with mostly only Champagne/Aishihik and Kluane First Nations members privy to the information, others of us are left out of the partnership that was envisioned for the Kluane National Park management board.
The land claims process was implemented in recognition of the fact that a significant sector of Canadians had been ignored and excluded from decision-making and governance for too long.
Is the shoe now on the other foot?
Open letter to Archie Lang, minister responsible for Yukon Development/Yukon Energy Corporations:
In a couple of months, your government is slated to slash the Rate Stabilization Fund again.
In other words, you plan on raising our electrical bills by another 15 per cent in July.
That is a 30 per cent increase in one year, which is tantamount to electrical rate shock for many Yukon homeowners.
You promised us that rates were to go down by February of this year to compensate for your government’s decision to slash the RSF, but we have not seen anything yet.
As a matter of fact, the General Rate Application probably will not happen until this fall, so new rates (and we are holding you to your word of a decrease in rates) will probably not take place until the new year of 2009, as it takes time for the regulatory process to roll out.
Before you decapitated half the Rate Stabilization Fund last July, a petition of approximately 2,500 Yukon citizens was presented to the legislature asking you to delay the elimination of this stabilization program until rates go down as you promised.
I have another 500 signatures from outlying communities that came in after the due date.
I am asking you to continue with at least the 50 per cent Rate Stabilization Fund until the Yukon Utilities Board comes up with new, affordable rates.
As a matter of fact, you do not have to dissolve this program at all, as it will become dormant when increased sales of electricity could make your lower rates realistic.
Please give your electorate an expedited response that you will continue with the Rate Stabilization Fund until such time as the rates decrease.
Roger Rondeau, president, Utilities Consumers’ Group, Whitehorse