Now the Peel watershed, that pristine jewel of the Northern Yukon that was to be preserved within the framework of the final recommended plan of the Peel Watershed Planning Commission, is left vulnerable to mineral staking.
Our Yukon Party, only after being elected to the security of its false majority (39 per cent of the vote, 100 per cent of the power), did it reveal its true intent to open the Peel to the mining industry.
This is a complete rejection of the desires of First Nations and a vast majority of Yukoners, represented by the seven years work of the planning commission. The work of this commission was inclusive of all sectors of society. Their original plan was modified to include mining, while still preserving this precious legacy for future generations. The plan simply could not be more fair and balanced, and is the quintessential model of the democratic process.
But that is not good enough for our Yukon Party government, and with stunning disrespect for all Yukoners, it has supplanted the commission’s final recommended plan with its own.
Thus, the First Nations and two environmental organizations have been forced into legal action in order to restore the democratic process and have the desires of Yukoners respected. This case will commence in Yukon Supreme Court on July 7.
And with the government’s refusal of a request by the opposition to impose a staking ban within the Peel while the case is before the court, the Peel remains vulnerable.
I would think it presciently wise for mining companies with properties within the Peel to consider holding off on development until a decision has been reached. If you should decide to commence activities, the best you can hope for is an early jump on the development of your properties. But it will undoubtedly cost you the respect of the First Nations and be detrimental to a healthy working relationship in the future.
And should the court decision go in favour of the people of the Yukon, you will have permanently damaged an irreplaceable endowment for our children, and your working relationship with Yukoners will be all but finished.
Please, show more respect than our own government is willing to give us, and wait for a decision. The minerals, or at the very least, a good working relationship with Yukoners, will be waiting for you.