Letter to the Editor: First Nations Lawsuits

Dear Editor:

What a week. Tuesday morning, the Yukon Supreme Court rejected this government’s unilateral approach to developing a land use plan in the Peel Watershed. This, in conjunction with a 2012 court decision the Government of Yukon lost to the Ross River Dena Council; make for two major legal strikes against this government in just three years.

Monday, we also learned it was the Yukon Party government that insisted on adding the four contentious changes to Bill S-6 that is being debated in the House of Commons.  It is these last minute changes, slipped in with no consultation, that have Yukon First Nations preparing to go to court yet again.

This week’s Peel court ruling was very critical of how the Cathers/Pasloski government treats Yukon First Nations, particularly with regard to consultation.  The court rejected the unilateral and polarizing plan brought forward by this government. Unfortunately the Yukon Party is setting us up for yet another round of lawsuits by taking the same approach with S-6. The Yukon Party and its federal colleagues are pushing unilateral changes that do not have the support of Yukon First Nations.

At the same time, the President of Casino Mining Corporation says S-6 is having a “negative effect on the territory’s mineral industry” because is it has no support from First Nations. This government has a losing record when it goes to court with First Nation governments. This mine could become one of the largest in the country if it proceeds, but lawsuits between the territory and First nation governments are starting to take its toll on investor confidence in the Yukon as a good place to do business.

What we continue to see from the Cathers/Pasloski government is a divide and conquer approach to the running the territory. The losses in the courts are piling up and creating uncertainty for the mining industry. Maybe it’s time for a new government with a new approach.



Sandy Silver
Leader, Yukon Liberal Party