Kaska fight to keep veto over oil and gas

The standoff continues between the Liard First Nation and the Yukon government over the proposal to remove the First Nation's veto power over oil and gas development.

The standoff continues between the Liard First Nation and the Yukon government over the proposal to remove the First Nation’s veto power over oil and gas development.

The government has proposed changes to the Yukon’s Oil and Gas Act, including removing a clause which guarantees unsigned First Nations the right to block any oil or gas development within their traditional territory.

In the legislature last week, NDP MLA Jim Tredger called out the government for what he believed to be inadequate and out of date consultation on the changes.

“Will the premier abandon this confrontational approach and properly engage First Nation governments in meaningful consultation on the Oil and Gas Act before any amendments are tabled?” asked Tredger.

Resource Minister Brad Cathers insisted that the government has exceeded its duty to consult.

The consent clause was written on the understanding that all of Yukon’s First Nations would sign land claims agreements, said Cathers.

While 11 First Nations signed on to the Umbrella Final Agreement, three remained unsigned, including the Liard First Nation. Its chief, Liard MacMillan, insists that the consent clause was a requirement for the Yukon to acquire control over its oil and gas resources, previously held by the federal government.

In 1997, Yukon’s First Nations signed a memorandum of understanding that detailed the requirement for the consent clause within the Oil and Gas Act.

In the legislature last week, Cathers called these agreements “lapsed” and insisted that Tredger cited “obligations that do not exist.”

The government has yet to bring forward evidence that the consent clause had an expiry date, or was conditional on the intention to sign a land claim.

The Liard First Nation announced in September that it would ban oil and gas development in their traditional territory until the government comes to the table on pressing issues.

The First Nation has called for a review of how the Faro mine reclamation project is being administered by the government, and would also like to see more good-faith negotiation with the government towards agreements on development within their territory, said MacMillan.

“We just feel that we’re not making any headway despite our good faith efforts, despite the Kaska’s good faith efforts, to have meaningful agreements that recognize our unsurrendered aboriginal rights and title, as well as ensure adequate accommodation for our interests in terms of employment and economic opportunities.”

MacMillan worries about the consequences of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in an area of the Yukon with significant biodiversity and importance to bird and small mammal species.

“They’re moving into Kaska traditional territory to try and frack it and basically turn it into Yukon’s industrial wasteland, basically a toilet bowl.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at jronson@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Yukon Budget 2.0

If the banks that finance the Yukon’s growing debt were the only… Continue reading

Yukon Supreme Court Chief Justice Suzanne Duncan dismissed an application on May 3 seeking more transparity on the territory’s state of emergency declaration. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Supreme Court rules confidential memo can’t be used in challenge of state of emergency

Court upholds cabinet confidentiality after request to use internal government memo as evidence.


Wyatt’s World for May 7, 2021.… Continue reading

Yukon Party MLAs Wade Istchenko and Stacey Hassard are facing criticism for crude text messages in a group chat. (Submitted)
First Nations leaders call for stricter punishment of Yukon Party MLAs

Queer Yukon has also criticized the two individuals involved in an inappropriate group chat

Fire chief Jason Everett (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City launches emergency alert system

The city is calling on residents and visitors to register for Whitehorse Alert

Two young orienteers reach their first checkpoint near Shipyards Park during a Yukon Orienteering Association sprint race May 5. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Orienteers were back in action for the season’s first race

The Yukon Orienteering Association began its 2021 season with a sprint race beginning at Shipyards.

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its May 3 meeting and the upcoming 20-minute makeover.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister talks tourism in “virtual visit” to the Yukon

Tourism operators discussed the budget with Freeland

Polarity Brewing is giving people extra incentive to get their COVID vaccine by offering a ‘free beer’ within 24 hours of their first shot. John Tonin/Yukon News
Polarity Brewing giving out ‘free’ beer with first COVID vaccination

Within 24 hours of receiving your first COVID-19 vaccine, Polarity Brewing will give you a beer.

A Yukon government sign is posted to one of the trees that have been brought down for the sewer project in Riverdale explaining the project. The area is set to be revegetated with grass when it is complete. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Planned stormsewer outfall will improve drainage on Selkirk Street

Resident raises concern over clearing as council considers agreement.

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve’s baby bison, born April 22, mingles with the herd on April 29. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Yukon Wildlife Preserves welcomes two bison calves

A bison calf was the first 2021 baby born at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

A map provided by the Yukon government shows the location of unpermitted logging leading to a $2,500 fine. (Courtesy/Yukon government)
Man fined $2,500 for felling trees near Beaver Creek

The incident was investigated by natural resource officers and brought to court.

Most Read