Premier Darrell Pasloski
Yukon Government Administration Building
2071 Second Avenue
P.O. Box 2703
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6
February 25, 2013
Open letter to the Honourable Darrell Pasloski, Yukon Premier and Honourable Brad Cathers, Minister of Energy Mines and Resources;
I am writing to you today at the close of the public input period regarding the Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan and the new land use designations you have proposed to the public.
I urge you to embrace the Final Recommended Plan that was originally submitted by the Planning Commission.
There are three simple yet critical reasons for my recommendation to you. First is that the Peel itself is intact as a landscape relatively free from human activity. We should do our utmost to preserve it, not just for its beauty, yet also for the service it supplies to our Northern ecosystems under pressure from both climate change and human encroachment.
I appreciate that there are mining interests in the Peel which predate the start of the planning process. I think you can and should be able to resolve the pre-existing claims with creativity and fairness.
The second reason is that under the Umbrella Final Agreement, land use planning became an obligation to work with First Nation Governments. The land use process should honour the spirit and intent of the Umbrella Final Agreement. It is my concern that the new land use designations you have proposed, should you go forward with them, may be divisive and/or challenged.
The final reason has to do with democracy and public service. During the Yukon election in the fall of 2011, the Peel was an issue of debate. At the time you stated that you were concerned about the polarization of the issue and that you would not be providing any detailed comment on the subject as it was in process. You won that election with a majority of seats (although not with a majority of votes).
If you now use your majority government position to adopt a future for the Peel watershed which opens it up for more development, you will break public trust. The mandate you received from Yukoners, is to ensure that the issue is not polarized any further and to carry out the broad will of the public. Your duty is to the whole of the Yukon.
Elizabeth May, O.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party of Canada