Yukon NDP questions gov't on closed-door negotiations with Kaska Nations
Premier admits negotiators meeting in Vancouver offices with Kaska negotiators
Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski has been taken to task by the Official Opposition in the legislature for negotiating a Kaska Nations reconciliation agreement behind closed doors
The Yukon government signed a framework agreement with the Ross River Dena Council, the Liard First Nation, and the northern B.C. based Kaska Dena Council in January. The talks are about resource and land development in southeast Yukon, an area potentially rich in natural gas and mineral deposits.
The Kaska Nations have not signed land claim and self-government agreements with the territorial and federal governments. Most other Yukon First Nations already have processes in place to accommodate development.
"Does the premier really believe that reconciliation can be achieved through negotiations in a distant boardroom rather than working with all segments of Yukon's communities," Hanson asked.
Pasloski replied he's "proud to continue to move forward with First Nations on this very important issue." He said it was the Kaska leaders who wanted to meet in Vancouver, and his negotiators simply complied with that request.
"We have our negotiators who work with their negotiators, this is how public government recognizes the duly elected governments of First Nations. We continue to work with them," the premier said.
The Yukon government is spending just over $2 million this year on the Kaska Framework Agreement. The agreement is meant to lead to land and resource management deals with the Kaska, according to the territorial government.
It also includes agreements with the Kaska Nations to address the Yukon government's obligation to consult on mineral exploration.