Ottawa trip on Bill S-6 ends in insult to Yukon First Nations
'The minister shut us down by telling us we were not real governments'
Yukon chiefs have come out swinging following yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on the Peel land use plan.
Nine representative of Yukon First Nations travelled to Ottawa over the weekend to meet with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt about their opposition to Bill S-6, which will amend Yukon's Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act.
"The minister shut us down by telling us we were not real governments," says Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation Chief Eric Fairclough in a news release. "And therefore he does not need to make us active participants in changing legislation that arises from our treaties."
Fairclough says that's an insult that "flies in the face of recent court decisions that have affirmed the duty to consult First Nations."
Yukon chiefs have been vocal and passionate in their opposition to Bill S-6. They say if the changes are passed, it will lead to legal action down the road.
The news release points out that the Yukon First Nations have the backing of at least two mining companies in Yukon, "which have sent letters to Minister Valcourt warning that regulatory reforms without meaningful consultation will create tension and uncertainty and urging the government to find a solution."
Fairclough has a clear warning for the Harper government.
"This means more uncertainty, more mistrust, and more confrontation, as one of the mining companies have said. The only certainty is that Bill S-6 will end up in court."
While in Ottawa members of the coalition also met with Yukon MP Ryan Leef.