A group of Yukon youth paraded what they have dubbed “Yukon Party wear” outside of the legislature before politicians took their seats on Thursday.
The suit jackets donned by the Peel Youth Alliance members were covered in homemade patches and logos of mining and resource companies operating in the Yukon.
“It’s obvious that the Yukon leaders aren’t listening to us. They’re, in fact, listening to mining companies and representing them, not Yukoners,” alliance member Colin Abbott told reporters and supporters gathered in the legislature’s lobby.
“We are launching the ‘Yukon Party wear’ suits to show who our government is truly representing,” he said.
“We are standing up to the Yukon government. The Peel watershed is our line in our sand.”
With fiddle and guitar music playing in the background, Sophia Flather and Malcolm Boothroyd showed off the suits.
Over the acoustic tunes, Abbott offered a quick sales pitch and description of the suits, which are “comprised of cutting-edge technology that is revolutionizing the art of politics.”
This includes a “streamline coating” to “reduce drag from environmental regulations” and helps “cut through public dissent,” said Abbott.
“An insulating layer protects the politician from the voices of Yukoners who care about the Peel watershed,” he said.
Abbott then outlined what they want the government to do.
First, they want the final recommended plan, developed by the Peel Watershed Planning Commission, to be accepted and signed.
They want democracy and the public’s wishes to be respected.
And they want the rules to change for mining companies in the territory so they have to pay more to Yukoners.
Mining companies should have to face the same rules as everyone else in the territory, said Boothroyd, referring to taxes, among other things.
According to the budget, the territory made more from camping fees last year ($308,000) than it did from mining royalties ($187,000), said Boothroyd.
Many of the alliance members have already started post-secondary studies across Canada in fields such as environmental science. They all grew up together in the territory and have already tried to voice their concerns in other ways, like writing letters, they said.
They also requested a meeting with the premier earlier this week, but were told he couldn’t see them on such short notice.
“But I’d hope they’d want to sit down with Yukon youth,” said Abbott.
NDP Leader Liz Hanson was the only politician at the news conference and fashion show.
The youth group said they hadn’t forewarned any politicians they’d be presenting “Yukon Party wear,” but they did offer to give Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski and Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Brad Cathers the jackets free of charge if they came to talk.
The group has other events planned for the coming weeks. They’re encouraging other interested youth to join them.
Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at