New Yukon Government elected on strong Peel promise
The 2016 Yukon Territorial Election could be a turning point for the Protect the Peel campaign. Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberals won a majority government, coming into power on the strength of a promise to implement the Final Recommended Plan for the Peel. This plan emerged from the democratic land-use planning process with the support of affected First Nations, conservation groups, and the large majority of the public. It would make 80% of the watershed off-limits from road access and industrial development. But it was rejected by the former Yukon Government in favour of its own unilateral plan to open up 71% of the Peel to development.
The incoming government made its support for Peel protection one of the cornerstones of its campaign, reiterating the pro-Peel position in its platform, at the CPAWS/YCS hosted Environment Forum and on social media. In its own words: "A Liberal government will accept the final report of the original Peel Land Use Planning Commission." We look forward to supporting the Yukon Government in delivering its election promise. As there is a Supreme Court Case ongoing, there remain questions about the timeline and mechanism for implementing the Final Recommended Plan. But the road ahead looks promising.
The Final Recommended Plan was the result of the land use planning process that is constitutionally mandated in the agreements between Yukon First Nations, Yukon, and Canada. The Final Recommended Plan not only reflects the views and needs of Yukon First Nations, it will protect the ecological integrity of one of the largest remaining intact ecosystems in North America, one of Canada's true national wonders.
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