Controversial Bill S-6 going to 3rd reading as is

A parliamentary standing committee has voted down all the amendments to Bill S-6, the controversial legislation to change Yukon's Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act.

Parliamentary standing committee votes down all amendments to S-6

The parliamentary standing committee studying Bill S-6 will send the bill for third reading in the House of Commons, without any significant changes.

The controversial legislation contains proposed amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act. Yukon First Nations are opposed to the bill, saying it undermines the territory's Umbrella Final Agreement.

The parliamentary committee on Tuesday considered about a dozen amendments to the bill, but voted them all down.

"To me that sends a large, strong message that this Harper government is not respectful of aboriginal governments and First Nations in this country," said Liberal MP Yvonne Jones, who sits on the committee. 

Jones says her fellow committee members heard Yukoners' concerns at a hearing last month in Whitehorse, but chose to ignore them.

"They sat at the table with us in the Yukon, so did their member [Yukon MP] Ryan Leef, and they heard first-hand from First Nations governments and Yukoners that they wanted changes made to the bill." 

Jones also criticized Leef for being a no-show at Tuesday's meeting.

"I think it's absolutely awful," she said. "He didn't show up and he didn't vote." 

Leef said he wasn't there because he's "not a substantive member of the committee."

And he said he was busy in his Ottawa office, meeting with Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Ruth Massie to discuss the bill. 

"It was important for me to meet with the Grand Chief and not play into the politics that Ms. Jones wants to engage in because she's clearly missing a major piece of the information puzzle," Leef said.

Once the bill leaves committee, it will be sent to the House for third reading.

Yukon First Nations have vowed to mount a legal challenge if it becomes law.


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