NEWS

Peel protesters get noisy at Yukon legislature

12/14/2012 12:39 EST | Updated 02/12/2013 05:12 EST
Protesters who don't like the Yukon government's approach to the Peel watershed filled the gallery of the territory’s legislature Thursday, and were reprimanded for making noise during question period.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society organized the event on the last day of the fall sitting to call attention to the new plans for the Peel Watershed.

After the Speaker’s admonishment of high school students, whose silent protest last week he said distracted the MLAs from the business of the house, Jody Overduin, a co-ordinator with CPAWS, said they intended to follow the House rules.

"We intend to respect those rules and remain silent throughout the question period, all of us with our T-shirts that say protect democracy, the plan, the peel, that's saying it all for us."

However, the protesters’ loud behaviour prompted Speaker Dave Laxton to scold them several times.

Jim Tredger, NDP MLA for Mayo-Tatchun, asked the first question of the day, accusing the government of bad faith when it comes to the Peel plan.

"The Yukon Party government has unilaterally abandoned the process and re-written the final plan in violation of final agreements,” he said. “This ignores the voices of thousands of Yukoners who participated in the process, it ignores Yukon First Nation governments.

“Will the minister follow the process outlined in First Nation final agreements and consult solely on the final recommended Peel watershed regional land use plan as was written?"

Energy, Mines and Resources minister Brad Cathers replied that the majority of Yukoners did not comment on the Peel watershed planning process.

“According to the 2010 report, commissioned by CPAWs, YCS, and Wilderness Tourism, here are the numbers: 383 people commented, plus a petition, for a combined total of 1,365 people,” he said. “Fewer than three per cent of Yukoners indicated a position in support of the so-called 80 per cent or more protection.

"Three per cent is not a majority. The Yukon government has followed the process and we will continue to do so and unlike the NDP, we are interested in the opinion of all Yukoners."

His reply prompted catcalls and jeering from the gallery.

Laxton told the public several times to refrain from clapping or outbursts during question period.

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