Peel watershed: Numbers do matter

A government is in trouble when its economic development minister repeatedly says that "numbers don't matter." And a territory is in trouble when this same minister is also in charge of the environment portfolio. Unfortu

A government is in trouble when its economic development minister repeatedly says that “numbers don’t matter.” And a territory is in trouble when this same minister is also in charge of the environment portfolio.

Unfortunately for Yukoners, this is exactly what Currie Dixon again stated when explaining why his government chose to hide the number of people who commented on the latest round of consultations on the final recommended Peel Plan.

From the outset, this government has shown that they will only listen to what they want to hear. While this is a shocking example of the attempts by the Yukon Party government to manipulate the democratic process that is land use planning, it hardly comes as a surprise for most Yukoners.

Despite the government’s bad faith, the development of the final recommended Peel watershed land use plan was a democratic process that saw First Nation governments, youth and elders, municipalities, environmental groups, small businesses and regular citizens construct and unite behind a responsible approach to development.

First Nations, who initially advocated for 100 per cent protection of the Peel watershed, have already made important compromises and, rightfully so, are not willing to settle for anything short of the final recommended plan. Likewise, the thousands of Yukon citizens who have participated in one way or another over the years in the land use process are not ready to accept that its outcome be rewritten by a minister who can’t count and doesn’t listen.

For once, the government should bite the bullet and put its own agenda aside. It’s never too late to make a good decision and nothing prevents the government from finally accepting that Yukoners have said loud and clear that the want to see the final recommended Peel watershed plan implemented. Contrary to what the minister thinks, numbers do count, especially when those numbers represent the voices of Yukoners.

Kate White

NDP MLA for Takhini-Kopper King