First Nation Criticisms of Mining Legislation Highlight Ongoing Mishandling of Ross River Ruling

Whitehorse: Klondike MLA Sandy Silver said concerns raised by Yukon First Nations on the government’s handling of amendments to mining legislation confirm worries Silver has raised with the controversial Bill 66. The Council of Yukon First Nations and several First Nation Governments recently sent letters to the Premier outlining issues with the content of the bill as well as with the lack of consultation.

As highlighted in the letters, the Yukon Government has not met its obligation to work with First Nations on these important legislative changes. “It is a total farce to give First Nations two weeks to respond to complex regulations that will affect First Nations and the entire mining industry,” said Silver.

The government had almost a year to respond to the Ross River ruling, but didn’t even begin consultations until half of that time had passed. “Instead of asking for an extension to the ruling, the government attempted to fast track the bill, backing itself into a corner with a court ruling on one side and dissatisfied first nations and industry on the other,” said Silver. 

These problems are the exact thing that could be avoided if the government lived up to its commitments by meeting with First Nations leaders in the Yukon Forum. The Forum provides a means for the Premier and First Nations to identify opportunities and common priorities for collaboration, but has met only once in two years.

Yukon’s mining industry has raised similar concerns regarding the lack of consultation on Bill 66.

For additional information contact:

Jason Cunning 667-8942