Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski wants the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs to “correct the record” after he claimed that Yukon First Nations are not governments under the Umbrella Final Agreement.
Pasloski says that claim is “incorrect,” and he wants Bernard Valcourt to “recognize self-governing First Nations as an order of government."
Valcourt's statement angered First Nations. He made the comments to Yukon chiefs during a meeting in Ottawa, and later at a House of Commons committee meeting.
The Umbrella Final Agreement was signed in 1993 to provide a framework for land claims settlements by 14 Yukon First Nations.
In a statement, Pasloski says Chapter 24 of the agreement "clearly provides for First Nation self-government."
The federal Liberals are also commenting.
“It's quite obvious that the Minister is very confused,” says Yvonne Jones, Liberal MP for Labrador and the party’s Northern Development critic, who says she suspects Valcourt is out-of-his depth.
"He obviously does not understand what the powers of self-government mean. He does not understand the role that they play. He has got to learn to respect and work with them on a government-to-government basis."
Jones wants an apology for Yukon First Nations.
“He has not only slighted them but he has treated them with disgrace and disrespect and he needs to apologize to them."
Meanwhile, Yukon MP, the Conservative Ryan Leef has defended Valcourt, saying his comments are “not inappropriate.”
Leef hopes the contentious amendments in Bill S-6 can be worked out in committee.