Territory hid Peel consultation results

The Yukon Party government buried a report that shows an overwhelming majority of Yukoners want to protect the Peel Watershed.

The Yukon Party government buried a report that shows an overwhelming majority of Yukoners want to protect the Peel Watershed.

An analysis prepared by the Environment Department one year ago found the “overwhelming majority” of people who responded to public consultations wanted to protect most, if not all, of the watershed.

But the territory never released this information. Conservation groups had to ferret it out with an access-to-information request.

Earlier, conservationists hired DataPath Systems to analyze the raw data from the territory’s public consultations and found similar results. But mining boosters expressed skepticism about the findings because it had been paid for by environmentalists.

Now we know the territorial government came to the same conclusion. But it never told the public.

The government report shows 87 per cent of respondents wanted the entire watershed protected, with an additional nine per cent supporting the planning commission’s plan to protect four-fifths of the vast swath of wilderness.

But the Environment report appears to have been stonewalled by the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, which is co-ordinating the government’s response to the Peel talks.

Energy, Mines and Resources’ only response to the report was to accuse it of lowballing the number of responses opposing protection. That turned out to be incorrect, say conservationists, who have sifted through the data to confirm the numbers.

The mining department’s own analysis noted consultations attracted a large number of people, based on the “expectation from stakeholders and interested members of the public that their opinions will be reflected in the final decision made about the land use plan.”

But that assumption now seems off-base. The Yukon Party has made it clear it thinks the proposed plan goes too far, and doesn’t allow enough mining.

Before Premier Darrell Pasloski decided protecting the Peel Watershed would bankrupt the territory, he dodged questions on the matter by insisting that he needed to consult the public.

The suppressed report raises new doubt about Pasloski’s sincerity about consultation, said Karen Baltgailis, executive director of the Yukon Conservation Society, in a release.

“It is hard to take Mr. Pasloski seriously on the issue of consultation since the Yukon Party government, apparently unhappy with the results, buried the last consultation report.”

This isn’t the first pro-conservation report suppressed by the territorial government. Pasloski’s predecessor, Dennis Fentie, also quashed a Department of Environment report that supported protecting the watershed.

Contact John Thompson at


Just Posted

The Fireweed Market in Shipyards Park will open on May 13. Joel Krahn/Yukon News
Whitehorse’s Fireweed Market opens May 13

The Fireweed Market will return with ‘exciting’ new and returning vendors

Ron Rousseau holds a sign saying ‘It’s time for a cultural shift’ during the Yukoners: Raise Your Voice Against Misogyny rally on May 11. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Protest held to condemn Yukon Party MLAs’ texts

A rally was held outside of legislature to condemn the inappropriate texts messages of Yukon Party MLAs Stacey Hassard and Wade Istchenko.


Wyatt’s World for May 12, 2021.… Continue reading

Health Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brendan Hanley announced youth vaccination clinics planned for this summer. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon government file)
Vaccination campaign planned for Yukon youth age 12 and up

The Pfizer vaccine was approved for younger people on May 5.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced two new cases of COVID-19 on May 11. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two new cases of COVID-19 reported, one in the Yukon and one Outside

One person is self-isolating, the other will remain Outside until non-infectious

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.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Haley Ritchie/Yukon News file
File photo of the legislative assembly. The previous spring sitting began on March 4 but was interrupted due to the election.
Throne speech kicks off short spring legislature sitting

The government will now need to pass the budget.

The deceased man, found in Lake LaBerge in 2016, had on three layers of clothing, Dakato work boots, and had a sheathed knife on his belt. Photo courtesy Yukon RCMP
RCMP, Coroner’s Office seek public assistance in identifying a deceased man

The Yukon RCMP Historical Case Unit and the Yukon Coroner’s Office are looking for public help to identify a man who was found dead in Lake LaBerge in May 2016.

Yukon Zinc’s Wolverine minesite has created a mess left to taxpayers to clean up, Lewis Rifkind argues. This file shot shows the mine in 2009. (John Thompson/Yukon News file)
Editorial: The cost of the Wolverine minesite

Lewis Rifkind Special to the News The price of a decent wolverine… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: border opening and Yukon Party texts

Dear Premier Sandy Silver and Dr Hanley, Once again I’m disheartened and… Continue reading

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

Most Read