Open letter to Premier Darrell Pasloski:
It’s sad to live in a world where the interests of corporate capitalism have hijacked the agendas of what were once at least nominally democratic governments.
The federal and Yukon Party governments are now all about circumventing democratic process so that, among other things, any impediments to unbridled resource extraction can be removed. Environmental protections are dumbed down or eliminated while the inherent rights of indigenous people are dismissed out of hand.
Apologies for residential schools by Harper mean nothing in the face of wholesale exploitation of traditional aboriginal lands.
The mass internment of First Nations youth may have ended, but the injustice of colonization continues.
As members of the dominant culture, we want to disavow any association with the policies of the Harper and Pasloski governments and their total disregard for aboriginal rights and the health of our environment. Mr. Premier: You don’t speak for us and you shame and defame us all with your anti-democratic and colonialist values.
Lets talk balance. The defense of your “plan” for the Peel River watershed is one of the most vacuous arguments we’ve ever encountered. Because objections have been raised on both ends of the political spectrum, balance has somehow been achieved?
Can you open your mind to what’s happening globally? Industrial activity threatens us all with irreversible climate change. Habitat destruction, pollution and climate change destroy numerous species every day and whole eco-systems disappear forever. We’re already way past the point of anything like meaningful balance.
Adopting a global perspective is key. We’re now faced with two choices. We can join the mindless frenzy of resource extraction and accelerate the destruction, or we can do things differently in Yukon, setting an example for the mitigation of the worst impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.
Our best chance for a survivable future is to maintain intact ecosystems, and our territory is exceptionally well endowed with vast pristine watersheds. We have a rare opportunity to preserve and protect invaluable wilderness areas, and yet you’re determined to squander it all, just as you continue to squander whatever goodwill remains between the Yukon government and First Nations.
If you want “balance,” focus on real diversity in our economy instead of perpetuating a gold rush-era mentality.
Mining in our DNA? Not in mine, and not in the DNA of the indigenous people who lived in harmony with this land for millennia.
Move out of the past and recognize that the destructive potential of resource extraction make it the last option we should consider. As for oil and gas, nothing short of a total ban on production and exploration makes sense in an era of cataclysmic climate change.
What we need now is vision, imagination and respect for the natural world and its protectors, not a status quo that harkens back to some of the worst abuses perpetrated against First Nations and our precious environment. Find your heart, open your mind, and get on the right side of history.
Jan Forde and Heather Jones