During a phone conversation this week, Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau confirmed the Yukon Party’s divisive S-6 clauses would be repealed and First Nation consultation would be respected.
This is good news for the Yukon.
The controversial four clauses championed by the Premier have forced a legal showdown with local First Nation governments. This has done significant damage to the Yukon economy, eroding certainty and making our resource-rich territory a poor place for companies to invest.
It has certainly worsened the territory’s recession, which is now entering its third year.
Within a week of taking office, Trudeau has confirmed Ottawa’s desire to work with First Nation governments to build the local economy. This aligns with the discussions I’ve had with aboriginal leaders throughout the Yukon, who consider responsible, community-based resource development essential for the economic health of First Nations and the territory.
S-6 is currently federal law and it will take some time for the 4 sections to be repealed. Until then, the territory lies in development limbo – the Yukon government has no legal obligation to consult with First Nations on certain projects, but it has been told that obligation will be restored. This is the scenario I have been warning the Premier about for two years and his decision to barge ahead without First Nation support has brought us to this very messy and completely unnecessary point in time.
We have asked the Yukon Party to do the right thing and restore full consultation with any First Nation affected by projects that surface before the offending clauses in the former Conservative government’s law are fully repealed.
While Premier Darryl Pasloski has not endorsed that approach, I will continue to work with Ottawa and push to ensure proper consultation with First Nations occurs.
Working together is the best way to build the territory’s resource sector.
In fact, it is the only way.
Sandy Silver, Leader
Yukon Liberal Party
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