Yukon seeks devolution deal changes
The Yukon government wants to renegotiate parts of its devolution agreement with Ottawa, in the hopes of securing more federal money as the territory's economy grows.
Premier Dennis Fentie said he hopes to convince the federal government that Yukon needs a bigger share of resource royalties.
"If there's more operating mines in the Yukon, there's better growth, there's better GDP, there's more peripheral economic development. It generates the necessary cash flow to drive other economic engines," Fentie told CBC News Wednesday.
Yukon signed its devolution deal with Ottawa in 2003, giving the territory control of its natural resources.
Fentie said getting a larger share of resource royalties now would help pay for the territory's growing pains.
"There's no doubt that increased growth, population, traffic, all that goes with it, will increase impact on infrastructure," he said.
Not asking for handouts: Fentie
At the same time, Fentie said he won't be asking Ottawa for a handout. Instead, he said he will show the federal government how increased funding will help Yukon create greater economic growth.
Fentie's Yukon Party government sought consensus in the legislature on Wednesday on the devolution issue. Klondike MLA Steve Nordick introduced a motion calling for several changes to the territory's devolution agreement, including more money to fight forest fires.
Nordick told MLAs more firefighting funds are needed "especially in view of the increased historic risk of fire in the boreal forest, including the massive spruce bark beetle infestation that was allowed to grow unchecked for decades."
Yukon also wants parity with a devolution agreement the federal government is working on with the Northwest Territories, as well as any future devolution agreement reached in Nunavut.
Fentie said the territorial government wants to work out a joint position with Yukon First Nations before going to the federal government.