Bill S 6 likely to pass next week

Controversial federal amendments to Yukon’s environmental assessment laws are set to pass next week. Bill S-6 passed the report stage in Parliament on Wednesday, after Conservative MPs voted to limit the debate on the bill.

Controversial federal amendments to Yukon’s environmental assessment laws are set to pass next week.

Bill S-6 passed the report stage in Parliament on Wednesday, after Conservative MPs voted to limit the debate on the bill.

Yukon MP Ryan Leef urged the House to pass the bill quickly.

“I am optimistic and confident that the piece of legislation that we have before us, subject of course to continued dialogue and discussion, will be one that will indeed be in the best interests of all Yukoners,” he said.

Third reading of the bill began Friday morning.

NDP aboriginal affairs critic Niki Ashton introduced a motion that would toss out the bill at third reading. However, the Conservative majority has shown no interest in amending or scrapping the legislation.

That motion will likely be voted on Monday, followed by a third reading vote. Because the bill originated in the Senate, that is the final step before the governor general grants the law royal assent.

Yukon First Nations have promised to sue if four controversial amendments to the assessment act pass as they appear in the bill.

Those changes were introduced late in development of the legislation, mostly in response to requests from the Yukon government to deal with concerns brought up by the mining industry.

First Nations say those elements of the bill go against their final agreements with Yukon and Canada.

“We will protect the integrity of our agreements,” Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Ruth Massie said Thursday in an emailed statement. “We are looking into our options and we’ll decide the course of action we will take once the federal process is complete.”

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