Making a mess of the Peel and our reputation

Making a mess of the Peel and our reputation Open letter to Premier Darrell Pasloski and cabinet: By this date, it is no doubt clear to you and your advisors that "development interests" and "environmental interests" are polarized about the future of pl

Open letter to Premier Darrell Pasloski and cabinet:

By this date, it is no doubt clear to you and your advisors that “development interests” and “environmental interests” are polarized about the future of planning and management for the Peel watershed.

Please do not stop reading this letter simply because I support the final recommended plan. Along with my support for that plan, I want to express to you my deep concern for the position you and your government are placing us in through the new “Peel consultation.”

Yukon has been known nationally and internationally as a leader in the creation of “modern treaties,” or comprehensive land claims. You are risking this truth, and our reputation, by attempting planning “modifications” that are not in the spirit of the Umbrella Final Agreement.

Further, you are risking generations of hard-won good working relationships among First Nations and newcomers. This is not good for Canada, where people struggle deeply with such relationships.

I am deeply concerned at your approach. You are diminishing the ability of northern people to determine our own futures if you do anything but accept the Peel planning commission’s final recommended plan.

In politics, we win and lose. In planning, we work hard to develop solutions that are not win-lose, but allow people who disagree with each other to go ahead and work together on a sustainable future, even as our disagreements persist. We are all in this together, and we are all here to stay.

Your role as government is to lead this process with all our interests at heart, not as a government elected by a narrow majority that then forgets the rest. You represent, and work for, all of us.

How can you risk the credibility that so many northern governments – Nunavut, N.W.T., Yukon, Alaska, Greenland – have worked so hard to gain? We are perennially regarded as backwoods labourers unable to grasp the complicated world of real money and global issues. You know, and I know, that this is not who we are.

I am a born-and-raised northerner who has recently resettled outside of Haines Junction. Right now, I teach Management of Aboriginal Natural Resources at Yukon College and University of Alberta (in a split classroom joined by distributed learning technology.) From my perspective it is clear that the Yukon government is risking legal action. Because the Yukon Land Claims Settlement Act is an act of Parliament, your actions have national significance.

You risk losing, for us, the credibility we have built up with the rest of the country, and its leadership in Ottawa, over generations. I am asking you to do the right thing. Accept the final recommended plan for the Peel. Your government stands to gain far more in credibility for your leadership, and other northern leaders in the long run, than it can possibly gain from giving in to pressures that are immediate and possibly short-term.

I am happy to discuss this, and any related issues, with you and your staff.

Ellen Bielawski

Haines Junction

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

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Eric Schroff, executive director with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, poses for a portrait on Feb. 20. Schroff says he is puzzled as to why the Yukon government is cutting back on funding for the association. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
YG cuts Yukon Fish and Game Association funding, tried to vet outgoing communications

Yukon Fish and Game Association says 25 per cent government funding cut will impact operations


Wyatt’s World for Nov. 27, 2020

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Most Read