As a non-First Nations person, it was my hope that the Yukon could honour our agreements with First Nations and be a model to the rest of Canada as to how to work with First Nations partners in a sincere way. However, the decision to go forward with the recent Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan tells me that the Yukon government is not serious about the agreements they have signed with respective First Nations.
Further to this, I do not see the rush in developing this area at this moment. Yes, I recognize by virtue of residing in the Yukon, much of what I have comes from other parts of the world and my consumption has an impact on the world and requires resource extraction.
However, as the world continues to develop at an exponential rate, it becomes ever more important to our ecosystem to save the areas that have been relatively untouched, not only for Yukoners but for future generations and the world as a whole.
Fundamentally, our economy functions as a subsystem to our environment, and just as your government speaks of constraints needed because of economic realities, our environment is currently under strain and it is our economic development that needs to be constrained.
I recognize this will mean living with less, and am in agreement with certain constraints that will need to be made if the protection of the Peel is to go ahead.
Yukoners and affected First Nations have already voiced clearly their desire to keep the Peel predominantly undeveloped.
Reflecting on this, it is my hope that the current government will follow its democratic duty and listen to what the majority of Yukoners have already stated to the planning commission.
I would urge the government to think carefully about moving forward in implementing the recent regional land use plan for the Peel watershed, as this will not only be devastating for the ecosystem in that area, but may also ruin the great progress we have made with our First Nations partners. This in turn may lead to years of litigation, which will not only be costly economically, but also more basically ruin relationships between First Nations and non-First Nations partners.