Peel protesters rally outside Yukon legislature
Energy, Mines and Resources minister says land-use plan will still be rewritten
More than 100 Yukoners concerned about the Peel Watershed rallied outside the legislature Thursday on the last day of the spring sitting.
A group called the "Yukoners Concerned about Oil and Gas Committee" organized the event.
It says it wants to send a clear message to the Yukon government about democracy.
"I think the message is that we as Yukoners count in decision making that are going to change our lifestyle," said Don Roberts of the Yukoners Concerned About Oil and Gas Committee.
"Whether it has to do with mining, whether it has to do with oil and gas, Yukoners want to be consulted, and this is one of the main reasons why I think Yukoners are starting to speak out."
Roberts said the Yukon government has a credibility problem and it must change course.
He said the government must be honest and transparent and consult Yukoners about its plans for the Peel Watershed.
With protesters filling the seats in the gallery of the legislature, politicians were keen to get their cards on the table regarding the Peel River Land Use plan.
Opposition leader Liz Hanson echoed the protesters’ demands. She wants the government to consult on the proposed plan as it is written.
"This government has called into question the views and efforts of thousands of Yukoners," she said.
However Brad Cathers, Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, said the plan will be rewritten by his government.
"The majority of Yukoners did not participate in the process run by the Peel Commission," he said. "The majority of eligible voters did participate in the 2011 election and they re-elected the Yukon Party."
Cathers said he'll meet the letter of the law under Yukon Land Claim agreements by meeting with the First Nations involved before taking a revised plan out for public consultation.
The Yukon Party recently came out with its statement of principles on the Peel which favours leaving the area open to development.