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George Bahm

First Nations’ rights will be respected, say New Democrats

The Yukon NDP expanded upon its bold pledge to give First Nations an effective veto over energy and mining matters at a news conference held last Thursday morning.

By Tim Giilck on April 5, 2021

The Yukon NDP expanded upon its bold pledge to give First Nations an effective veto over energy and mining matters at a news conference held last Thursday morning.

The subject was first broached earlier in the week when the NDP unveiled its election platform.

The announcement was made by NDP candidate George Bahm.

“I’m happy to announce that a Yukon NDP government will require Yukon First Nations’ consent for all major resource development projects, renewable and non-renewable,” he said.

“We will put this into law because we commit to adopting the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

A Yukon NDP government will move swiftly to align all territorial legislation with the goals and recommendations of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“These are big commitments,” Bahm added.

“They’re overdue. It’s what Yukon First Nations have been waiting for a long time.

“I know that everyone standing here today and the Yukon NDP candidates across the territory all believe in keeping our land safe and protected for those that follow.”

NDP Leader Kate White said the response to the concept has been enthusiastic by the public when she’s been campaigning door-to-door.

“The most common sentiment is relief,” she said. “People want certainty. They don’t want more court cases.”

“There is no such thing as an equal partnership when one partner doesn’t recognize the other’s right to say no,” she added.

“We will make sure that Yukon First Nations’ rights are respected and adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“Many land use disputes are taken to court by Yukon First Nations who argue that government failed in its duty to consult them,” the NDP leader added.

“We believe the time has come to recognize that Yukon First Nations are partners, not mere stakeholders, in the approval of new mines.”

The party has also committed to working with First Nations without a final land claim agreement to complete planning and, where there is a desire from the First Nation, to support Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) within their territories.

The subject was also the subject of some debate during a candidates’ forum held last Wednesday night.

Dan Curtis, the Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre, questioned NDP candidate Emily Tredger on the issue, provoking some controversy.

“So I’m just curious, the First Nations, United Nations, the consent – I’d just like to ask if the NDP has asked the First Nations if they’d like that. Because I know what we think is not always what they think or what they want or the attention drawn to them,” Curtis said in a rambling question.

“So I’m curious: has the NDP reached out to our First Nations asking if it’s something they wish to do? Or are they just doing this on their own?” 

Tredger responded with a meandering answer of her own.

“I mean, I think the question was, and maybe I misunderstood, but I think the question is: do First Nations want the right to consent? And I, I just don’t imagine – I can’t quite understand how that could be anything but ‘yes’.

“Of course they want the right to self-determination,” Tredger said.

“And of course, they’re telling us they want the right to make their own decisions about their land. Of course, we’ve reached out to them and partnered with them and talked to them and I – yeah, of course, everyone wants consent, everyone wants the right to make decisions about their home.”

Curtis made another attempt at framing his question more concisely.

“I’m curious if you’ve asked the First Nations specifically if they want to be part of the United Nations consent, that’s all I’m asking.

“Have you asked them specifically, saying, ‘would you like us to have you on the United Nations consent?’ Because I think it’s taking a leap saying, ‘they want consent, of course they do.’

“But they’re their own government and they shouldn’t have someone telling them what they want to do,” Curtis said.

“So I’m very curious if you’ve gone ahead and asked anyone, if you’ve talked to Chief Bill or Chief Kane or Marvin or any of the chiefs.

“I’m just curious. Or is it just something that’s being assumed that they want this United Nations Declaration of consent. That’s all I’m asking. Specifically, this particular thing, please.”

Tredger answered, “yeah, our platform has come out of hundreds and thousands of conversations. And this is what we’re hearing; this is what we’re hearing that people want.

“So, yeah, that’s the answer, I guess, is that that’s what we’ve heard from all of our partners.”

Comments (36)

Up 0 Down 0

Dustin on Apr 12, 2021 at 1:29 pm

As a Yukon First Nation let me say that liberal, conservative, and NDP alike are all in the same boat and that boat is not one of friendship! Hey I already voted - for my chief and council meeting in Teslin. You stalwart chest pumping nationalist queen loving life antics can vote whomever you’d like.

Up 0 Down 1

drum on Apr 12, 2021 at 12:02 am

The FN have got it all. More than anyone else. They are treated as special people in the Yukon. How about all people in the Yukon be treated equally. Just call us residents, We all came from somewhere else and that includes the First Nations. DNA has been found in South American residents from Australia - they migrated to the Beringia land bridge and traveled down to South America. Some stayed here.

Up 0 Down 6

ProScience Greenie on Apr 10, 2021 at 2:13 pm

Lol, not a socialist Dave. You guys are moving so far to the right that red torries seem like socialists. That's on you, not centrists. And as far as the orange traitor and wanna be fascist south of the border goes - with a third or more of Canadian conservatives wishing he were our PM - that's a huge problem.

Up 8 Down 1

Dave on Apr 10, 2021 at 10:55 am

@PSG, The facts of the matter really mess with your socialist trained little mind don’t they? Keep obsessing about the former US president as it will give you something to try and focus your uncontrolled rage on.

Up 3 Down 7

Mike on Apr 10, 2021 at 7:59 am

@Josey wales I've never voted liberal in my life nor have I ignored the facts it is you and people like you who think because we weren't the wrong doers to the first nations people we shouldn't have to acknowledge it. You have taken my comment and twisted it to fit your agenda quite like a liberal would do and want to move on without accepting the facts.
The indian act has been around for decades and I've read it to its entirety and all it's amendments so the fact that the first nations have special rights compared to non first nations is a direct acknowledgment by our Governments that compensation in whatever form will be put in place to help the first nation develop an equal opportunity in the developing world. And you know this - so please don't say I'm ignorant or unstudied in this regard, my comprehension of the situation is more than adequate justification for racism in any form is nonsense.

Up 3 Down 2

joe on Apr 9, 2021 at 4:06 pm

@ Mike... or is it doubting Thomas?


Up 5 Down 6

Josey Wales on Apr 9, 2021 at 3:12 pm

Hey Mike...speaking of calling out?
Those things you tried to virtue signal on, if they really bother you...stop voting Liberal if ya do.
Team red were the original liars to the natives, yup LIBERALS not too distant from the English... NOT all..."Whitey's"
Team red are the ones that need the economic reserves humming along with a steady batch of indentured servants or subjects.
Team Red , the YLP & CLP are the metric democrats representing the north and the other idiots their counterparts in whatever is left of USA also need...
state nannies...
dependence on the blowholes and little on yourself...
No dissention...
Political Correctness Ideologies...

Dig into the history you claim to understand, and look to the SS, YLP & CLP to continue with this pattern...unless you want a change?
Reads like ya might?

Up 7 Down 18

Mike on Apr 9, 2021 at 1:59 pm

@ Joe injustices you call it. Stealing a generation of children from their families, raping and killing them, brainwashing them, stealing their culture and way of life is called injustice but if someone stole your friggen skidoo you'd be screaming blue murder. As for the age of this planet, did you carbon date that yourself? Your factual sounding comment is as ignorant as your minimization of the First Nations suffering. Did you know that in 1950 a family could buy a indian boy for 10 bucks? In 1975 provinces still had hotels that barred natives entrance with signs. But history in Canada doesn't tell that story. We hear about the Jews and slavery and Japanese war prisoners but we don't hear about the natives and do you know why that is Joe? Because it's not history, it still happens.
Take your head out of the sand and please enlighten me on your knowledge of the age of this planet. Your rationalism for your racism is based on what you believe to be true. My opinion and knowledge come from 57 years of walking through life with my eyes wide open and never denying what I see as fact, not what I read or choose to believe because it allows me to hate anyways. Enjoy your day Joe I was never attempting to change your mind or your view, just calling out bulls*it when I see it

Up 24 Down 6

Joe Malarky on Apr 8, 2021 at 11:22 pm

The Yukon has one of the most advanced relationships with First Nations in the country that could be a model for other jurisdictions. Why on earth is the NDP so eager to give up our power and autonomy to the UN (an unlected, unaccountable body that probably has never heard of the Yukon)?? And why discount the great strides we have made here?

Please explain the specific benefits of joining the UN... if you have even read it!
The NDP will say anything to get votes, despite fantasy land promises.

Up 6 Down 16

Observer on Apr 8, 2021 at 6:51 pm

Dave, FN rights are protected by the UFA and are also protected by the highest law in the land. Neither you or anyone else is going to change that, so let's just move on.
In closing, you have some nerve commenting on anything FN, taking into consideration we have allowed you to relocate here the States.

Up 7 Down 4

Mike on Apr 8, 2021 at 2:59 pm

@ Observer to answer your question. I am the same Mike who comments on here quite often and support the conservative party and I want to express my gratitude for your kind words. As for my comment in regards to this stream I stand by it and defend it whole heartedly. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but nobody is entitled to racist comments on a open public forum. It shows me just how ignorant some folks really are. As for the comment referring to ginhgas khan to the Government of Canada, the churches, police and every non native, let's be clear the difference would be he killed them all. The churches and government left their victims alive to live with the atrocities.

Up 9 Down 24

ProScience Greenie on Apr 8, 2021 at 2:00 pm

I like Currie Dixon and Wade and Stacy but as much as I want to vote for the YP I can't as that party is too full of racist, deplorable Trump-loving neo-fascists as demonstrated by Dave's disgusting comment below and many more. This is the Yukon, not some $h*thole like Alabama. We're better than that.

Up 2 Down 2

YukonMax on Apr 8, 2021 at 12:43 pm

@ Excited...
Justice and Liquor: Minister Kaori Torigai (??/???/????)

Up 18 Down 2

Joe on Apr 8, 2021 at 12:41 pm

@mike...pretty confusing hyperbole there, yes we are aware of the past, whether perceived or real and yes we all agree there was a period of time where there were injustices for sure. You can look back at any culture and find periods of time where injustices took place. One thing we totally disagree on is that we are uninvited guest on their land and that they are “ First Nation”. The planet is 5 billion years old and we have scientific ability to look back for maybe 1% of that time. This is Canada and the past is gone.

Up 41 Down 14

Dave on Apr 8, 2021 at 10:54 am

Hey Hammer, I guess FNs are part of planet earth and as far back as history is recorded good things as well as bad things have happened to people everywhere. The difference is that lately people seem to think they’re owed something and can play the blame game in perpetuity if grandma and grandpa had it tough for a while. On the flip side today’s generation loves their pickup trucks, iPhones, Playstation's and Lattes so it hasn’t taken long to work itself out.
I don’t seem to remember Gengis Khan or any of the real barbarians throughout history making an effort to right wrongs afterwards so I’m not real broken up over the fact that Yukon FNs were finally introduced to the rest of the planet 120 years ago and advanced from living in animal skin huts and using a fallen tree in the woods for a crapper. As a FN friend says to me, we’re not chewing on moose hides to tan them anymore.

Up 35 Down 19

Excited!! on Apr 7, 2021 at 11:08 pm

I'm super excited to see an NDP government takeover in Yukon!
When I think of the powerhouse team they have, I can already envision their Cabinet Ministers:

Energy, Mines and Resources: Minister Jason Cook (He,Him,His) Yukoner for 5 years, living in Porter Creek and founder of the LGBTQ rainbow room in a PC highschool.

Health: Minister Saba Javed (She/Her), 21 year old university student in Toronto.

Environment and Economic Development: Minister Ron Davis (He/Him), currently operating the Gravy Train food truck downtown.

Community Services: Minister Patty Wallingham (She/Her), 25 year old curler and resident of Whitehorse.

Highways and Public Works: Minister Michelle Friesen (She/Her), 25 year old Rendezvous Queen and Mountain Biking enthusiast.

Education: Minister Erik Pinkerton (He/Him) who has lived in Marsh Lake for almost a year and in the Yukon for about 5.

Justice and Liquor: Minister Kaori Torigai, resident of downtown Whitehorse and champion of the Whitehorse beer festival. Also an actor and costume designer.

and finally, the Premier is always the Finance Minister in Yukon, so Finance Minister Kate White for the win!!


Up 7 Down 12

Observer on Apr 7, 2021 at 5:43 pm

Mike? Are you the same Mike that posts here quite often? The one that supports YP? If you are and made the last Mike comment on this stream, I have just gained a whole hell of a lot of respect for you, you captured that very well. Thanks brother.

Up 9 Down 38

theHammer on Apr 7, 2021 at 3:02 pm

joe@ Hi my name is Joe I'm a Canadian. Right. Are you talking about white privilege? 'Not sure what Canada's all about'. What privileges do you seem to be lacking? For FN people Canada is about abuse, racism, residential schools and being second class citizens. I'm a Canadian but I don't think like you. And, Peter, his attitude belongs in 1936. Calling yourself a Canadian and coming down on aboriginal land rights, what does that tell us about your idea of Canada. Your attitude is 19th century. No one in the comments section knows who your ancestors are or where they came from.

Up 44 Down 11

Anie on Apr 7, 2021 at 2:56 pm

@Observer, people can never be equal so long as they insist on being special. It really is time to stop focusing on real and perceived past injustices.

Up 21 Down 2

Groucho d'North on Apr 7, 2021 at 2:52 pm

I was one of the many that crowed into the main foyer of the Yukon Government Administration building to witness the signing of the Umbrella Final Agreement back in May of 1993. John Ostashek, then government leader of the Yukon, Tom Siddon then federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, and Judy Gingell then Chair of Council of Yukon Indians were all signatories to the agreement. Both Johnny O and Siddon made a short speech praising the UFA as the road map to a positive future of cooperation and mutual benefits between Yukon’s aboriginal people and the two governments. Judy then spoke and she was the most sincere and accurate when she held the UFA document high over her head and said words to the effect of: ‘Now we get to interpret what it all means.’ Her words still ring true today.

Here we are today some 28 years later and following a number of court challenges, arguments and misinterpreted ideas about how the UFA is supposed to guide our various governments on how they should be working together for the common good of all Yukoners. Perhaps its now time to stop and check the oil.

Are we advancing the social progress that was anticipated by the UFA? A lot has changed since the UFA was adopted and much has been misconstrued in the interpretation Ms. Gingell spoke about. It is no longer 1993 and leadership of all three party signature groups has changed and with that change comes new ideas, opportunities and challenges. I do hope the goals and objectives of the UFA still have the same values for all Yukon people, as it was the agreement document that spoke to improving the Yukon’s social fabric and how we will work together to build a better life for all of our children.

Up 18 Down 38

Mike on Apr 7, 2021 at 2:43 pm

@Joe - The past is gone for who? I am not a first nations member nor am I ignorant to the facts of the meaning of First Nations People. In other words, we are all uninvited guest's on their land. Now knowing that these people were raped, beaten, and murdered in an attempt to commit genocide on them has been acknowledged by our Country's leaders. And in return for that horrendous attack on a people they are entitled to certain benefits that we are not. I do not always like it but I accept it. Will I vote NDP? no, but not because of this article or because of any racial disrespect towards the first nations of the Yukon. You cannot ask for equal benefits when you are not the survivors of the past and as long as there is a first nation person alive the past will never be gone, nor will they just get over it. I express this because it's important to fully understand before committing to a comment that sounds totally racist or judgmental. Remember, we were not the victims but we must respect the victims and nurture them. A lot of them are no longer victims and have grown strong through healing and forgiveness which I respect as well and others are still searching but we non first nation members must accept there will always be a special rule and entitlement for our hosts, our neighbors, our friends, and in so doing this bill would make a lot of sense.

Up 41 Down 12

joe on Apr 7, 2021 at 12:15 pm

@ Hammer... it's not about hunting and fishing and trampling all over the earth as you put it, and maybe you prefer a sedimentary lifestyle which burdens health care however, this is about one cultural group receiving special privileges over and above another. By this logic, immigrants that moved here 50 years ago have more rights than newer immigrants and so on...Not sure that's what Canada is all about. The past is gone, stop reliving it.

Up 14 Down 34

TheHammer on Apr 6, 2021 at 10:42 pm

I vote for the individual. I'm on side with First Nations all the way. I don't have any big ideas about hunting and fishing and trampling all over the earth. FN have always made me feel welcome, and I have great respect for their traditional knowledge and culture.

Up 10 Down 38

Observer on Apr 6, 2021 at 7:16 pm

Ibrian, All First Nations have ever wanted is to be equal, and no we are not anywhere close to that yet. We will be one day, no doubt dragging a lot of right wing extremists along the way.
The UFA cannot be changed unless all three parties to the Agreement agree to the change. The other two parties (feds and ytg) did not give first nations anything, whatever is in the UFA first nations retained.

Up 48 Down 11

Cruising on Apr 6, 2021 at 2:19 pm

If the NDP win the election then the housing crisis is over. When projects can no longer get approved, enough workers will have to leave the territory that there will be no housing shortage.

Up 37 Down 11

iBrian on Apr 6, 2021 at 2:05 pm

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a non-legally binding resolution passed by the United Nations in 2007.
Affirming that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such,
Affirming also that all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind, (from the UNDRIP page)

George Bahm has not read the declaration. It would resolve most of the rights given under the UFA. So, he wants to see no parcels of CAT lands and just a open map. So, that means no more double standards with hunting regulations. Which means all Status Natives would be required to purchase a hunting license in order to harvest any animal the same as a non status native currently does.
Ok then. Where it refers to being “Different” that is in regards to religion, dress and political freedoms. But not double standards that currently apply.
Way to shoot yourself in the foot ol boy.

Up 64 Down 10

Oya on Apr 6, 2021 at 12:54 pm

If I had any plans to vote NDP (which I didn't), those plans would have been derailed because of this kind of BS right here.
As Joe said, this privilege nation thing is getting OLD! Any party that wants to give any one group more rights than another is no party for me.

Up 72 Down 11

Dave on Apr 6, 2021 at 11:22 am

Oh good I just can’t wait to vote NDP, said no rational person ever!

Up 60 Down 12

Max Mack on Apr 6, 2021 at 10:30 am

Sadly, the courts have already given FNs effective veto power over development.

The Liberals, who are ideologically and socially aligned with the activist judiciary and provide the necessary feedback loops, are keen to establish policy and process in such a way that the FNs maintain that effective veto power. So, we have "land use" planning, "water use" planning, ATV prohibitions and more "regional" or "local" planning, "hunting" restrictions, YESAB . . . at every step, the FNs and their environmentalist allies can oppose development or use of any kind. However, FN veto power is more-or-less limited to "their" traditional lands.

But under the NDP proposal, every FN would have to get their cut. Trying to assuage every FN in the territory (not to mention cross-border FNs) could be orders of magnitude more expensive than as-is (despite the glaring cost of the status quo developed by the Liberals).
Even more so than the current Liberal strategy, the NDP proposal would effectively give FNs control of government policy. So much for democracy . . . so much for "certainty" . . .

Up 40 Down 8

DMZ on Apr 5, 2021 at 9:01 pm

Does anybody even refer to the UFA anymore, or is it just what the First Nations say it says?

Good for Dan Curtis for asking for clarification about a sweeping statement. Pretty rare these days. This reporter is a gem, he doesn't miss a thing.

Up 78 Down 12

Peter on Apr 5, 2021 at 7:16 pm

What about our rights as Canadians!
The people we elect are to represent all Yukoner's and Canadians. To make this statment in this article is discrimination. You are driving this country into white and non white which is a slippery path as what has happened in the USA. This lead to discrimination and segregation.
This is disgusting, and your party not be elected. I am tired of this country being torn apart by a Nation within a Nation. We are all one nation, Canada.
If the First Nation do not consider them a Canadian, then there is very serious concerns on the future. I ask all Yukoners to question this and challange the politicians. This has gone out of control!

Up 73 Down 13

bonanzajoe on Apr 5, 2021 at 5:20 pm

Marxist communist sell out to the non contributors. Good luck getting elected Trotskyites.

Up 96 Down 11

Juniper Jackson on Apr 5, 2021 at 4:51 pm

No one group alone gets veto rights. That is an absolutely ridiculous comment. Everyone gets extended information. Any stakeholder group is entitled to request more information. After that, it is a GROUP decision whether to approve an application or not.

There are issues that affect everyone, that residents should work on as a unit, addiction? That's everyone's problem. It does not matter what color you are. What happens at KDFN housing? Their problem. Starvation? Everyone's problem. What happens at WHC? Our problem. Territorial development??????? That belongs to everyone. FN should be consulted on developments on and off their land. Not because they are FN, but because they are a group with stakeholder interest.

Giving any one group authority (power) over any other interest group is B*** S***.

Sooner or later every government is going to have to get past the divisive policies introduced by the Trudeau government. The world is too big for all these groups to stand alone. If we are going to leave anything for future generations, ALL our children, we better start working together for the common good.

Up 128 Down 23

Joe on Apr 5, 2021 at 3:41 pm

Why on earth would anyone believe one culture should have more rights than others? This privilege nation thing is getting a bit old. I can't hunt this but you can, I can't drive my quad there but you can, you can cross the border during covid but I can't ? Racism?

Up 87 Down 16

Anie on Apr 5, 2021 at 3:16 pm

So the NDP don't plan to respect the UFA? They are just going to ignore it, or pick and choose? I thought it was entrenched in the constitution? Or just some parts of it? Can any future government just toss out any part they don't happen to like? These are serious questions. Did NDP consult with anyone familiar with the UFA?

Up 79 Down 9

JSM on Apr 5, 2021 at 2:21 pm

Parties making the most obvious claims to make it sound like they care about the people. Shocker.

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