Premiers to fly to Haines Junction after all, following weather delay

Canada's provincial and territorial premiers are in Yukon today, to begin three days of meetings of the Council of the Federation. Rain and fog initially forced the meetings planned for Haines Junction on Wednesday to be moved to Whitehorse, but flights to Haines Junction are back on.

3 days of Council of the Federation meetings begin today in Yukon

Rain and fog in Haines Junction on Wednesday morning meant the premiers could not fly to the community. They are now expected to fly in this afternoon. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

Canada's provincial and territorial premiers will be flying to Haines Junction after all this afternoon, after plans to fly in to the community were cancelled this morning due to bad weather. 

The premiers are in Yukon to begin three days of meetings. They were to meet in Haines Junction with leaders of five national aboriginal organizations, but those meetings were moved to Whitehorse.

This is the first time the Council of the Federation has met in any of the northern territories. About 400 delegates were expected in Yukon for the conference. The plan was to hold meetings in Haines Junction before moving to Whitehorse on Thursday and Friday.

The premiers at a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Vancouver last March. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

The premiers were scheduled to fly to Haines Junction Wednesday morning, but were grounded in Whitehorse by rain and fog. The change of plans forced media and other officials already in Haines Junction to quickly drive back to the Yukon capital, 154 kilometres away.

In Haines Junction, they were expected to be hosted by the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and joined by leaders of the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Métis National Council, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Native Women's Association of Canada.

Champagne and Aishihik Chief Steve Smith was looking forward to what he called a "historic gathering" that his community was proud to host, including a cultural showcase.

As chair of the federation, Yukon's premier will lead various meetings and calls throughout the year, and oversee the Federation's working groups.

"It really acknowledges the ever-increasing role that the territories play in our Federation and how important the territories are to this country," said Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski, the current chair of the Federation.

"It's not just about hosting a meeting for three days, it's about all the responsibilities that come with that for the next year."

Yukon is footing the bill for the meetings, which are expected to cost close to $700,000.

Meetings are scheduled to continue in Whitehorse Thursday and Friday, at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre. (CBC)

With files from Cheryl Kawaja