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Yukon First Nations unhappy Bill S-6 passed 2nd reading

The Coalition of Yukon First Nations say they'll have no choice but to sue the federal government if the bill to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act passes 3rd reading.

Yukon MP says he would have voted in favour of the bill, had he been at Wednesday's debate

Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Ruth Massie was surprised Yukon MP Ryan Leef was not in the House to debate Bill S-6 on Wednesday.

The Coalition of Yukon First Nations that is opposed to Bill S-6 is disappointed that the bill passed second reading in Parliament on Wednesday. The legislation would amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act.  

Yukon First Nations say they'll have no choice but to sue the federal government if the bill passes.

They say it undermines the Umbrella Final Agreement, a political agreement pertaining to land, compensation and self-government finalized between Yukon First Nations and territorial and federal governments in 1990.

In a statement, CYFN Grand Chief Ruth Massie says she is surprised Yukon MP Ryan Leef wasn't in the House of Commons to vote on a bill that will "so significantly impact all Yukoners." 

She says if Bill S-6 passes, it's a "clear decision" against land claims and warns the legislation would be "simply bad for industry and development."

Little Salmon Carmacks Chief Eric Fairclough says the aboriginal affairs committee should spend more time in Yukon. (CBC)
Little Salmon Carmacks Chief Eric Fairclough says that although First Nations are pleased the aboriginal affairs committee will visit Whitehorse for a committee hearing, they aren't happy the hearing will only last one day.

The committee is expected to visit Whitehorse near the end of this month.

Yukon MP defends absence from House

Yukon MP Ryan Leef wasn't in the House of Commons when Bill S-6 was being debated and voted on, but says he debated the bill in the House earlier this winter.

Leef says he was in Washington, D.C., for a Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians meeting on Wednesday and says he had no planned intention to miss it.

Yukon MP Ryan Leef says he was at a Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians meeting in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
"My schedule had already been fixed and it just happened that those things coincided at the same point in time," he says. 

"My obligations in Washington were pretty concrete and very much in the best interests of Yukoners." 

Leef says he would have voted in favour of the bill, had he been there. 

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