First Nations demand answers from Pasloski

Aboriginal chiefs with a stake in the Peel Watershed are demanding the Yukon Party government provide its position on the recommended management plan.

Aboriginal chiefs with a stake in the Peel Watershed are demanding the Yukon Party government provide its position on the recommended management plan.

Intergovernmental consultation was supposed to begin in mid-September, but Premier Darrell Pasloski has stonewalled chiefs of the Na-cho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondek Hwech’in, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nations and the NWT’s Gwich’in Tribal Council.

Now the aboriginal leaders want the government to clearly state its position prior to the territorial election, said an open letter from Simon Mervyn, Eddie Taylor, Norma Kassi and Richard Nerysoo, chiefs of the four aforementioned First Nations respectively.

“His retort to us is that he has to check the numbers,” said Mervyn. “And I really don’t know what that means.”

“The Yukon government is continuing its internal work to analyze the recommendations in the final recommended plan,” said Rod Jacob from the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources on Tuesday.

“I really can’t say too much more on that at this point.”

“I think it’s a very complicated answer,” said Pasloski on Friday, after calling the election. “Look at what’s happened in the last little bit: we’ve gone from 100 per cent, we’ve gone to 80 per cent and now the commission’s saying maybe it’s 55 per cent. What is the number? I can tell you right now, do we want protection in the Peel? Absolutely. What the real issue is, is how much is it? We’re following under a couple things. One is the process that was agreed upon by all the governments. We also came down with timelines. We also have to deal with the Chapter 11 of the Umbrella Final Agreement. So that’s what we’re doing.”

But according to official timelines, Pasloski should be meeting with the First Nations by now.

“He’s undermining everything,” said Taylor. “He’s stickhandling. I’m not even sure he’s read the process. I know for dang sure he hasn’t read our agreements.”

Pasloski was invited to attend the Council of Yukon First Nations leadership meetings, which were scheduled this week so leaders of each political party could meet with the chiefs.

Both Taylor and Mervyn drove from Dawson and Mayo, respectively, to question Pasloski about his position on the peel.

“I was very disappointed that he decided not to partake in our leadership meetings,” said Taylor.

“We’ve asked for a meeting, we’ve asked for his position but, to date, nothing,” said Mervyn.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

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