What’s Next for the Peel? Live Stream and Public Event

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Tuesday, December 15th
7-9 pm (Pacific Time)
Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre
and online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSTePF-Hf4Y

Join us for a public information session to discuss the Yukon Court of Appeal ruling on the Peel Watershed and our next steps.

Speakers include:
Chief Simon Mervyn, Nacho Nyak Dun
Chief Roberta Joseph, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in
Chief Roger Kyikavichik, Vuntut Gwitchin
Jill Pangman, CPAWS Yukon
Christina Macdonald, Yukon Conservation Society
Margaret Rosling, Aldridge and Rosling

For those who cannot attend the event in-person it will be live streamed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSTePF-Hf4Y

The live stream audience will be able to ask questions of the speakers during the question period through the live stream chat functions, by emailing jjack@cpawsyukon.org, or by phoning or texting 867-332-0310.

Join a Live Stream Hub in your local community! Hubs can be found in:

Aklavik
Band Office Board Room
8:00pm to 10:00pm (Mountain Time)
Doors open at 7:45pm

Dawson City
Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Hall
7 – 9 pm (Pacific Time)

Haines Junction
St. Elias Convention Centre
7 – 9 pm (Pacific Time)
178 Backe Street

Inuvik
Gwich’in Tribal Council – Main Boardroom
Chief Jim Koe Zheh Building
1-3 Council Crescent
8:00pm to 10:00pm (Mountain Time)
Doors open at 7:45pm

Mayo
Yukon College Campus
7 – 9 pm (Pacific Time)

If your community isn’t yet listed and you’d like it to be please get in touch: achurch@cpawsyukon.org

WE WON!!!!

Justice Veale has just announced his decision on the Peel Watershed Court Case and we’re thrilled to announce that we won with all our remedies sought!  You can find Justice Veale’s summary of the decision here and the full document here.  The plaintiffs will be issuing a press release shortly.

Summary of October 24th’s Proceedings

The Peel court case reconvened for a fifth and final day today at the behest of Justice Veale.  The judge brought the plaintiffs and defendants back together at the Yukon Law Courts to delve deeper into the issue of remedies for the Peel trial. As in July, both the main court room and the additional room where the hearing was being live-streamed were packed.

The judge opened the trial with a statement that today’s hearing was not a settlement hearing, as some media outlets had implied, but a remedies hearing.

Thomas Berger, on behalf of the plaintiffs, led off the proceedings.  Despite suffering from bronchitis he assured Justice Veale that his voice could hold out for the half day of proceedings.  He laid out the remedy sought by the plaintiffs: a remittance of the Peel land use planning process back to the stage where the Yukon Government ran it off the rails.  That is to say at the stage of the final consultation on the Final Recommended Plan.

He argued that the final round of consultations should focus on only those modifications to the plan put forward by Yukon Government, that the Commission had deemed sufficiently detailed for them to address in the drafting of the Final Recommended Plan (i.e. points 3, 4, and 5 of Minister Rouble’s letter).  He stressed that there was real value in this process – especially since it would allow the affected First Nations and communities to comment on details of the implementation process for the Peel plan.  He further argued that post this final round of consultation the Yukon Government could not chose to reject the Final Recommended Plan, as they had previously chosen the route of modifications. Mr. Berger stated that they needed to “exit the process through the portal that they chose to enter”.

Berger continued to pick up speed throughout his argument, joking, “My voice seems to be improving the more I speak,” to which Justice Veale replied, “It’s the same with all lawyers.”  Berger then delved deeply into several examples of case law in support of his arguments including considerable focus on the honour of the Crown.

After a short intermission Jeff Langlois, counsel for the Gwitch’in Tribal Council (GTC) who are interveners in this case, made a short set of remarks.  He started by stating that the GTC agreed in full with the statements made by Mr. Berger.  He then brought to the judge’s attention the broader issue of the impact Justice Veale’s decision will have on future land use planning exercises.

John Hunter then addressed the court on behalf of the Government of Yukon.  He asked for the case to be dismissed.  He then stated if the judge would not dismiss the case he should remit the plan back to the point in the process where Minister Rouble proposed his original modifications to allow the Government of Yukon to submit more detailed modifications. Failing that, Mr. Hunter asked the court to preserve the government’s right to reject the plan at the final stage of the process.  Throughout his statements he argued for less prescriptive restrictions from the court in relation to the process.  Mr. Hunter often stressed that the issue at the heart of this case is that of balance between development and protection.  Justice Veale heavily questioned Mr. Hunter throughout his comments, often eliciting softening of statements or conceding of points from Mr. Hunter.

Mr. Berger then issued a reply.  He stated that the Yukon Government’s suggestions would run the process into the ground.  He explained that the issue of balance had been addressed by the Commission in their work. He also said that the government had chosen not to pursue the issue, stating, “the government can’t say ‘we didn’t feel strongly about it then but now we do’…they can’t send it back to the Commission as they no longer exist, who would they be sending it back to?  The whole thing becomes a dog’s breakfast…it’s inoperable.  The government cannot simply have a do-over…we live by the rule of law and there is no precedent for such a thing.”

He then went on to state his disagreement with Mr. Hunter that the core issue of this case is one of balance between development and preservation; rather, at the core of this case is the issue of the honouring of constitutional agreements with First Nations.

That concluded today’s proceedings.  All of the parties will now await Justice Veale’s decision.

 

 

Don’t Forget Tomorrow’s Peel Court Case

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Friday, October 24th, 10 am, Yukon Law Courts

The final day of the Peel court case will take place tomorrow.  Judge Veale has called the plaintiffs and defendants back to consider the proposed remedies of the case in further detail.  The public is encouraged to attend the sessions which begin at 10 am.  An overflow courtroom equipped with live-streaming capability will be provided by the courts in case public interest outstrips the capacity of the main courtroom.  If you are unable to attend in person you can follow live tweets of the proceedings @CPAWSYukon and #protectpeel.  A summary of the day’s events will appear on this blog after the proceedings have finished for the day.