Harper says Bill S 6 was territorial initiative during Whitehorse visit

Stephen Harper visited Whitehorse this week to take a whirlwind boat tour of Miles Canyon with MP Ryan Leef, pour a glass of beer at Yukon Brewing, and tout his government’s economic record.

Stephen Harper visited Whitehorse this week to take a whirlwind boat tour of Miles Canyon with MP Ryan Leef, pour a glass of beer at Yukon Brewing, and tout his government’s economic record during a brief campaign speech at the Trans North Helicopters hangar.

During his speech, Harper asserted that Canada “has been steadily creating jobs for six years” and that the economy has been growing for seven straight years.

“The Yukon has been a big part of that,” he said.

In fact, the Yukon’s economy has shrunk for each of the last three years.

Last week, Canada was confirmed to be technically in a recession, as the economy shrank for the first two quarters of 2015. But the economy did start to expand again in June, and numbers released on Friday by Statistics Canada show that the country gained 12,000 jobs in August. Yukon’s job market has also improved slightly, gaining 200 full-time jobs in August.

Harper also addressed a question about Bill S-6. Last Thursday, three Yukon First Nations announced they have hired a lawyer and plan to file a lawsuit against the federal government within a month over the bill’s controversial changes to Yukon’s regulatory regime.

“There’s no doubt there is going to be a court process,” Harper said. “The government believes that we’re operating totally within our constitutional authority.”

Harper went on to say that the territorial government requested the changes to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act laid out in Bill S-6, and that it “speaks on behalf of the vast majority of Yukoners.”

That statement runs counter to comments made by Premier Darrell Pasloski during an interview with the News on Tuesday, when he appeared to lay responsibility for the bill and the related consultation process at the federal government’s feet.

“It is a federal government process. It is federal government legislation. All we could do is provide our comments,” he said.

Pasloski said he was “disappointed” that the issue may end up in court. He referred to an offer he made this spring to sit down with First Nation leaders and negotiate some kind of solution, and said that offer is still open. “Really, at the end of the day, it’s the responsibility of us as leaders here in the Yukon to find a way to resolve these kinds of issues out of court,” he said.

The Yukon NDP was quick to point out on Friday that Pasloski has previously claimed responsibility for two of the four amendments in Bill S-6 that have caused most of the controversy.

A statement from NDP MLA Lois Moorcroft claims that Harper’s assertion in Whitehorse “shows that the federal Conservatives are prepared to throw the Yukon government under the bus… and that the Yukon Party government has not been clear about its role in crafting Bill S-6.”

In his speech, Harper also touched on a number of proposed Conservative measures that may affect Yukoners, including the enhanced mineral exploration tax credit that was announced last week.

He also said a re-elected Conservative government would provide $9 million over three years to Destination Canada to attract recreational anglers, hunters, and snowmobilers from the U.S. to boost the Canadian tourism industry.

He referred to a new wildlife conservation and enhancement program that would launch in 2017 with a $5 million annual budget to protect the habitat of species targeted by hunters and trappers, including moose, deer, and wild turkey.

He also promised to modify regulations for migratory bird hunting.

And Harper couldn’t resist a final jab at the Liberal and NDP parties, who he said would both bring back the long-gun registry “if they get the chance.”

Liberal candidate Larry Bagnell has since released a statement saying his party has “categorically ruled out bringing back the long-gun registry.”

In a separate announcement on Friday, the Conservatives promised to set up a Canadian Armed Forces reserve unit in the Yukon. The unit would specialize in northern survival skills and “provide a specialized emergency response capacity in the face of natural disasters such as wildfires.”

The territory’s last Canadian Armed Forces regiment was disbanded in 1968.

Contact Maura Forrest at

maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read