Peel staking ban is just more stalling: opposition

Neither leader of the territory's opposition parties is applauding the Yukon government's extension of the Peel watershed's staking ban by another eight months.

Neither leader of the territory’s opposition parties is applauding the Yukon government’s extension of the Peel watershed’s staking ban by another eight months.

Sandy Silver, interim leader of the Liberals, called Thursday’s announcement more foot-dragging, while Liz Hanson, leader of the NDP, called it a diversionary tactic.

“When the land-use planning process began, we called for a ban on exploration,” she said. “They refused until they created a mini rush and had over 8,000 claims staked. If they had acted, then this wouldn’t be an issue. And if they responded to the land-use plan when it was tabled over a year ago … this would be a moot point. But instead, they’ve created a diversionary dilemma to make it look like they’re doing something positive, again. It’s more show than substance.”

Last week’s announcement was the third extension of a staking ban originally put in place in February 2010. It is now set to expire on May 4, 2013.

“We anticipate that the final stages of the consultation in the land-use planning process for the Peel watershed region will begin this fall,” said Brad Cathers, minister of energy, mines and resources in Thursday’s release.

“Ideally we would like to see the land-use plan for the Peel watershed region completed before we would lift the interim withdrawal,” said Currie Dixon, minister of environment, in the same release. “However, we have been clear that this withdrawal has always been intended to be temporary, and we are most certainly not interested in an indefinite withdrawal.”

It’s clear the Yukon Party intends to reject the final recommended land-use plan for the region, which suggests 80 per cent of the Scotland-size watershed be protected from development, said Silver.

“It also makes a mockery of their contention that as a government they are not allowed to comment on the plan,” he said.

Silver called on Premier Darrell Pasloski to clearly state what position the government intends to present to First Nations and the public before the next phase of consultation begins.

The territory is legally required, under the First Nations’ final agreements, to bring the final recommended plan to the public, not a revised plan with unilaterally-made principles, said Hanson.

“The notion that the Yukon government is somehow doing these one-off conversations or back-room manoeuvrings with First Nation leaders to come up with a revised plan just does not jive with the requirements under the final agreements. I don’t buy it,” she said.

“They can’t try to change the rules and do a one-off deal. Either the treaty means something or it doesn’t.”

Hanson acknowledges that no matter what comes of the final round of public consultation, the Yukon government has the right, as the majority land owner in the Peel, to do whatever it wants and that no amount of consultation may be able to change its mind.

But by having the public’s response recorded through the final consultation, it will be on record that the government is acting against the public’s wishes and what was recommended by a process entrenched in the Canadian Constitution, she said.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your furnace and your truck need to go

Perhaps the biggest commitment in the NDP deal with the Liberals was boosting the Yukon’s climate target

Air North president Joe Sparling said the relaxing of self-isolation rules will be good for the business, but he still expects a slow summer. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News)
Air North president expects a slow summer

Air North president Joe Sparling suspects it will be a long time before things return to pre-pandemic times

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

Most Read