There is no ‘right’ to access

Recently, Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Brad Cathers got on his hind legs in the legislature and insisted (according to CBC) that "the Peel planning commission's recommendation...

Recently, Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Brad Cathers got on his hind legs in the legislature and insisted (according to CBC) that “the Peel planning commission’s recommendation to protect 80 per cent of the area from industrial development would bankrupt the territory by forcing the government to buy out existing mineral claims.”

As minister of the “Yukon Government Chamber of Mines,” Cathers is so keen to promote the interests of his clients – or keepers – that he is giving them legal advice from the floor of the legislature. Wow. If he and Premier Darrell Pasloski haven’t been bought outright by their clients, they certainly act as if they have been. Cathers is saying, in effect, “C’mon. Go ahead. Soak the taxpayer for all you can get. Heck, we’ll even concede defeat in advance.”

Remember, this is the party that aggravated the situation by refusing to impose a staking moratorium in the Peel when they were asked. As a result, speculators added some 5,000 new “claims” to the planning area. But wait, it gets better. Not only are mining exploration companies encouraged to “claim” public land free of charge, they get to raise holy hell on it (“exploration”).

Moreover, having done this for purely self-interested reasons, they get to dictate public policy on public lands through their tame politicians. And these same politicians invite their keepers/clients to punish the public for daring to plan public land.

Take that, John and Suzy Public. Take that, First Nations. Take that, Peel watershed planning commission. We’ll show you who runs this territory.

Brad, how pathetic. Under your nifty suit and behind your podium, do you feel no shame when you distort the facts?

There is no legislation that grants mining claims a “right” to road access and you know it.

The law references “reasonable access” and there are many precedents in which road access was deemed “unreasonable.”

In the case of accessing the Peel, would road access be “reasonable?” Would it be worth spiting 80 per cent of the Yukon public? Would it be worth alienating the affected First Nations? Would it be worth asking an unwilling taxpayer to subsidize the damn thing so that an outside speculator can make a bundle? Would it be worth a lawsuit that might ruin your party and our current boom?

Lincoln spoke of “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” You lot have distorted it: “Government versus the people.”

Yukoners, you are entitled to tell your government what to do. They work for you.

Conrad Frieslander

Whitehorse