Yukoners hopeful and optimistic for future following Peel watershed verdict

Yukoners are celebrating the chance to start a new chapter in the Yukon government’s relationship with First Nation governments following today’s precedent-setting Court of Appeal of Yukon rejection of the Yukon Party government’s Peel watershed appeal. The ruling is a sign that it’s time for the government to step back from its failed approach to First Nations relationships, and demonstrate its stated commitment to reconciliation with Yukon First Nations by accepting the final recommended Peel watershed land use plan.

“Today, Yukoners are hopeful and optimistic about our shared future,” said Yukon NDP leader Liz Hanson. “By upholding the terms of the negotiated final agreements, we can finally begin the process of reconciliation that will ensure a brighter future for everyone.”

In the spirit of reconciliation and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, the Yukon Party should accept this court’s ruling as an opportunity to demonstrate the goodwill and honour of the Crown that are necessary for a negotiated land use plan for the Peel watershed.

Later today, the Yukon legislature will vote on a motion tabled by Hanson that underscores the instability brought to Yukon’s economy by court battles with First Nations – as reflected by a projected third year of territorial gross domestic product decline – while also undermining the Yukon Party government’s stated commitment to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.

The Yukon NDP caucus remains committed to developing respectful, government-to-government partnerships with First Nations governments – and for the fairness and prosperity for all Yukoners that comes with those partnerships.

“The Yukon Party has been telling anyone who will listen lately that they want to seek reconciliation with Yukon First Nations – but today’s decision says that they actually undermined reconciliation by failing to honour both the letter and spirit of its treaty obligations,” added Hanson. “All Yukoners can count on the Yukon NDP caucus to support meaningful reconciliation. When we can work together in mutually respectful, government-to-government partnerships, there’s no limit to what we can achieve together as Yukoners.”