Whitehorse: The long-awaited decision from Justice Veale on the Peel Watershed was released today and, much to the relief of many Yukoners, the Yukon Government’s unilateral plan was rejected.
“It is a win for democracy that the Yukon Supreme Court rejected the unilateral plan created by the Cathers/Pasloski government,” said Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver. “This is a landmark case in respecting consultation processes, democracy, and First Nation treaty rights.”
The ruling states that the government must use the final recommended plan as a starting point, and can only propose modifications that were tabled in earlier stages of the process; and further consult with affected First Nations on these changes.
“It is unfortunate that it has taken so long for us to reach the proper conclusion,” said Silver. “Successive Yukon Party governments have used the Peel as a wedge issue, dividing the territory's population, garnering international media attention for all the wrong reasons and further straining relationships between Yukon and First Nation Governments.”
With its public legal battles with First Nation governments over the Peel Watershed, Bill S-6, and the staking ban in Ross River Dena Council tradition territorial, the Cathers/Pasloski government’s approach to First Nation relations is creating uncertainty for the territory’s resource sector.
“With the decrease in GDP last year and huge drops in mining exploration since 2011, it is becoming abundantly clear that this government’s contentious approach to First Nation relations is hindering the economic development of the territory,” said Silver.
Silver also urges the Yukon Government to respect the Yukon Supreme Court’s decision, and not waste anymore taxpayer’s money on lengthy court battles.
For additional information contact:
Brad Weston, 393-6430
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