Whitehorse: The Premier has some explaining to do after federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said today it was the Cathers/Pasloski government that insisted on controversial amendments to Bill S-6, said Liberal leader Sandy Silver. 

“The Premier has had months to be up front with Yukoners and take ownership of the controversial changes,” said Silver.  “It’s a sad day when Yukoners have to find out from Ottawa that it is their own territorial government that is behind these regressive changes to YESAA.”

The Premier’s contention that there was adequate consultation was also called into question by his federal colleague.

“The federal Minister himself admitted the new amendments from the Government of Yukon came after the five year review was already complete,” said Silver.  “It’s very troubling to see the Premier insist there was adequate consultation when he knew that wasn’t the case.”

Silver called on the Premier to ask his federal colleagues to withdraw the amendments in order to avoid another costly court case with Yukon First Nations.

“It is not too late to fix this mess and the Premier could simply request these amendments be withdrawn,” he said.  “More lawsuits certainly don’t contribute to a positive working relationship between different levels of government.”

Silver said he is encouraged by the recent request from Yukon MP Ryan Leef to have the Standing Committee for Aboriginal Affairs hold public consultations on S-6 in the Yukon.

“I have been calling on both the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada to hold public consultations on this bill since January of this year,” he said.  “I’m pleased to see our MP has finally recognized the value of hearing what Yukoners have to say about this bill.”

2nd Reading of Bill S-6 occurred today in the House of Commons.  The bill is opposed by the federal Liberal caucus.


For additional information contact:
Brad Weston, 393-6430