[Yukon Mining] S-6 failed to offer perfect solutions: Cathers – by Sidney Cohen (Whitehorse Star – May 18, 2017)


In a rare turnabout, the Yukon Party is throwing its support behind Bill C-17, federal legislation that repeals four contentious amendments made to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA) by the previous Conservative government through Bill S-6.

“Moving forward with the amendments contained in Bill C 17 is probably the best course of action at this point in time because of the concerns by CYFN (Council of Yukon First Nations) and individual First Nations,” Yukon Party MLA Brad Cathers told the House on Wednesday.

The legislative assembly unanimously voted Wednesday in favour of a motion to support the federal Liberals’ efforts to pass Bill C-17, which is currently before Parliament. YESSA spells out the process for assessing all Yukon lands for development, and is part of the Umbrella Final Agreement between Yukon First Nations, the territory and Canada.

The changes made under Bill S-6 eased regulations for the use of Yukon lands. When YESAA was amended in June 2015, it caused outrage among Yukon First Nations. They said the changes undermined the Umbrella Final Agreement and violated land claim agreements.

Three First Nation governments – the Teslin Tlingit Council, Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation and Champagne and Aishihik First Nations – filed suit against the federal government in Yukon Supreme Court later that year.

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