Open letter to Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Brad Cathers:
I am writing this letter to gain clarification for the youth of the Boys and Girls Club of Whitehorse in regard to your most recent announcement on Feb. 15 in the Yukon News.
It is difficult to teach youth the concepts of sharing ideas, working together and coming to a consensus with the community when the people who have been entrusted to govern our territory and our youths’ future choose to ignore these traits.
For a long time we have heard various groups, both conservation- and industry-based, come together to speak of the future of the Peel watershed. We have also heard from First Nations, locals, and experts from across Canada who have all shared their knowledge and wisdom of potential courses for this landscape.
Over the past year, the Boys and Girls Club of Whitehorse has been following the developments of the Peel land use plan as an on-and-off project with our youth. This has been an example of what democracy in action looks like and how many people of differing opinions may come to a consensus.
It is interesting to us that the land-use planning committee originally came to you with an agreement that 100 per cent of the Peel watershed should be protected. Apparently this was an unsatisfactory result as it was sent to reconvene and eventually came back with a plan that involved approximately four-fifths protection. From recent articles it appears that you are proposing a significantly smaller amount of protection.
The youth of Whitehorse are curious if this is indeed the course the government is choosing to take and, if so, why did it waste so much time and money having a planning committee that it would ultimately ignore? Also, if the committee and First Nations agree on a higher percentage of protection, why is it that YTG has chosen not to accept or acknowledge these proposals?
The Boys and Girls Club of Whitehorse has endeavoured to explain to our youth that elected officials are the servants of the people and are put in place to conduct business to their benefit. The way we interpret the recent news makes it appear that our elected officials do not agree with this line of thinking.
Can you please educate us to the model in which our government has chosen to act so that we may be better able to educate, as opposed to disillusion, our youth?
The Boys and Girls Club would like to take this opportunity to thank you in advance for answering our above questions and giving them the care and consideration that we are sure the Peel watershed received.
Dave Blottner, executive director
Boys and Girls Club