Respectful, strong partnerships with First Nations are the foundation of a positive future

The Yukon Liberal Party believes in the value of genuine dialogue. We have seen it work and are committed to continuing to govern in partnership with Yukon First Nations, generating benefits and positive outcomes for all Yukoners.

In 2016, relationships with Yukon First Nations were strained, to say the least. Trust was lost and relationships were worn thin by broken promises and multiple lawsuits. The Liberal government made a commitment to do better, and to work in collaboration with First Nation governments. We delivered on this commitment and believe it needs to continue, because there are so many opportunities on the horizon.

Our first legislative work as a new government was to establish National Indigenous People’s Day as a statutory holiday in the Yukon. First Nations are the heart and soul of Yukon communities, and this day is the chance to recognize their diversity of achievements and ongoing contributions to the vibrant cultural fabric of the Yukon.

We have made respectful relationships a priority by re-energizing the Yukon Forum and we have met with Chiefs consistently since being elected. We have had significant successes through our work at the Yukon Forum including:

  • Creating a more united and strategic approach to engagement with the federal government.
  • Signing an agreement to clarify how resource royalties will be shared under Chapter 23 of the Final Agreements.
  • Signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Heritage Management, which marked the Yukon as the only jurisdiction in Canada that has co-owned, co-managed historical sites with self-governing First Nations.
  • Most recently we finalized and began implementing the progressive Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy.

Stronger partnerships have seen the Yukon become the first jurisdiction in Canada to create a comprehensive Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Girls and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG2S+) strategy, Changing the Story to Upholding Justice and Dignity. The strategy outlines 31 actions that will guide our response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It was created in partnership with MMIWG2S+ survivors, families, Indigenous women’s organizations, First Nations Governments, municipalities and other stakeholders, including the Government of Canada and the RCMP.

We also signed the final recommended plan from the Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Planning Commission and increased First Nations involvement in Yukon school governance through funding for the Yukon Native Language Centre, the First Nations Education Commission, and the Chiefs Committee on Education.

We have built a solid foundation, and we need to keep moving forward.

A re-elected Liberal government will:

  • Implement the Yukon’s MMIWG2S+ strategy with our partners.
  • Implement our representative public service plan - Breaking Trail Together, an inclusive public service. This plan is built around barrier-free recruitment, culturally-safe and responsive work environments, and training opportunities.
  • Continue to incorporate Yukon First Nations traditions and practices into the Yukon Legislative Assembly.
  • Support the establishing of a Yukon First Nation school board
  • Continue to fulfill our commitment to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
  • Continue to work actively to uphold and promote the spirit and intent of the Self-Government Agreements and work together to identify and resolve roadblocks.

Sustaining and further developing these vital relationships with Yukon First Nations is the only way to an even more positive future in this territory, as we must build that future together.

“I made it a priority to foster positive, respectful relationships with First Nation governments because these relationships are essential. Working together doesn’t mean we always agree. It means we keep showing up to work on the issue. And that is what we have done; not just for photos and not just when it was easy. We’ll keep showing up and doing the work to make sure that Yukon First Nation voices are heard, included and respected.”

- Sandy Silver, Yukon Liberal Party Leader and Candidate for Klondike