Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Ruth Massie, Yukon NDP Opposition Leader Liz Hanson and Liberal Leader Sandy Silver will accompany Premier Darrell Pasloski to the international climate talks in Paris at the end of the month.
Pasloski announced he would attend the 21st Conference of the Parties in October, as will all Canadian premiers who are not currently in election campaigns. The talks will run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
“(The conference) is an opportunity for First Nation representatives to network, share our firsthand experiences and tell our stories on the changes we have witnessed,” Massie said in a news release.
Hanson said past premiers have invited opposition leaders to important climate negotiations, and said she’s “really pleased that the premier has chosen to follow precedent.”
Hanson said she’s particularly concerned about the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing on climate change in the North. “The fact of the matter is we don’t need to be opening up a fossil fuel industry in the Yukon. It seems to be quite retrograde, quite contrary to the evidence.”
Silver said he hoped to have former federal Green Party candidate and current territorial Liberal candidate John Streicker go in his stead, as Streicker has experience in climate change research. But that was not possible.
“We’re not complaining, that’s for sure,” he said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity, and we’ll take it.”
Silver pointed out that the Yukon government is “nowhere near” reaching its 20 per cent emissions reduction target from 2010 levels by 2015.
Youth ambassador Sabrina Clark will also attend the conference, as will officials from the Department of Environment.