Whitehorse Daily Star

Government’s legal fees for Peel case are nearing $300,000, figures show

The Yukon government has so far spent $285,767 on Outside legal fees defending its position on the Peel land use case.

By Chuck Tobin on January 4, 2016

The Yukon government has so far spent $285,767 on Outside legal fees defending its position on the Peel land use case.

Megan Foreman of the Department of Justice said last Thursday $232,496 was paid to Torys LLP of Toronto for the appeal.

As well, $53,271 was paid to Hunter Litigation Chambers of Vancouver for the initial trial in the Yukon Supreme Court.

There were in-house legal costs incurred by the department but those costs are not recorded specifically, she said.

Legal fees incurred by the two First Nations and two environmental organizations who sued over the government’s handling of the Peel land use process have not yet been made available.

The First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun, the Tr’ondek Hwechin, the Yukon Conservation Society and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Association joined forces to sue the government.

The coalition won in Yukon Supreme Court, prompting the government to file an appeal with the Yukon Court of Appeal.

As a result of the Court of Appeal decision handed down in November, the coalition has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to hear an appeal, though there are no guarantees the highest court will agree to hear it.

The Supreme Court of Canada typically hears between 10 and 15 per cent of the cases that seek leave to appeal.

After several years of planning, the Yukon government rejected the land use plan recommended by the planning commission and implemented its own plan.

At the initial trial, Yukon Justice Ron Veale found the Yukon government did not conduct itself properly during the planning process.

He ordered the government to throw out its plan and adopt the land use plan recommended by the planning commission. It called for 80 per cent wilderness protection over the Peel region with very restricted road and rail access.

While the Court of Appeal also found the government acted improperly, it set aside Veale’s order and instead ordered the parties back to the planning table.

Forcing the government to adopt the planning commission’s recommendation would not be in keeping with the spirit of reconciliation intended in the Yukon’s aboriginal land claim agreements, the Court of Appeal ruled.

Comments (11)

Up 1 Down 0

Yukoner38 on Jan 9, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Liberals and NDP: "Good bye Yukon economy, hello to losing 1000's of jobs, housing drop of 40%. Higher taxes. City that can't afford to pay its bills."

Are you nuts lol? We have had a Conservative government federally and territorially for the past decade (longer for the territory) and look where we are ... economy in the toilet and the highest federal debt in history! Our dollar is still sinking for god's sake. http://www.debtclock.ca/

When the Liberals left power in 2006 they gave us a 13 billion surplus and year after year of balanced budgets. But by all means keep telling people that the Liberals will ruin the economy LOL

Up 2 Down 0

duderancher on Jan 8, 2016 at 6:21 pm

Thanks for your negative views about tourism, and the phony visitor reception of Yukoners, those friendly Northerners. Tourism is not the only option.
This is the problem with tunnnel vision, and black and white perception.
Long ago ancestors in the British Isles, to name one location, had complex civilizations with a high quality of life. Check BBC and the Orkney archeology currently changing perception about the past. If we can't do what they did without turning the earth into a toxic dump, then we are pretty stupid bunch living phony lives alienated from our roots.

Up 5 Down 12

ProScience Greenie on Jan 8, 2016 at 3:09 pm

The tourism and eco-tourism industries have huge environmental footprints, especially with C02 output. It also takes metal mines and currently hydrocarbon production to make it happen. It also comes with low paying seasonal jobs that often requires people to put on fake smiles when dealing with obnoxious tourist which is demeaning and humiliating.

All of the above has to be recognized and dealt with. When tourism can produce good jobs similar to resource extraction or government jobs and deal with it's huge ecological footprint then it can be a good thing.

Up 27 Down 9

duderancher on Jan 6, 2016 at 6:47 pm

If anyone thinks that the economy depends on wrecking the environment, they are not only living in the past, but have definite designs on destroying the future.
Tourism is a viable economic option, do you know how many people are looking for clean air, clean water, beauty, wild life and peace and quiet in a place with a small population? There is a problem with Yukon promoting itself. Because the government is wearing blinkers. They've got Tunnel Vision (mining)!

Up 73 Down 43

Lost in the Yukon on Jan 6, 2016 at 3:42 pm

I see the Pharmacist is employing the same tactic that Harper tried running up to the Federal election. Having "staff" monitor all the sites where "comments" are made and jumping in.

Up 37 Down 9

Stu Whatman on Jan 5, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Wow that's a lot of money. They could have bailed out the golf course again or give the money to the other golf courses for upgrades.

Up 39 Down 86

NDP and Liberals agree to close the Peel on Jan 5, 2016 at 5:12 pm

and Yukon to any development. Good bye Yukon economy, hello to losing 1000's of jobs, housing drop of 40%. Higher taxes. City that can't afford to pay its bills. 4000+ people leave because there is no work. Liberals and NDP did it before. Federal liberals already got head start on killing the Yukon.

Up 36 Down 11

Lost in the Yukon on Jan 5, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Notice how the costs went up almost 400% from the original court case to the appeal. Now guess what it is going to cost Yukon taxpayers when it goes to the Supreme Court.

Up 61 Down 40

Peel is two things on Jan 5, 2016 at 11:46 am

Money pit for lawyers wanting to make a name for themselves.
Trouble makers who have no interest in the Yukon but their own beliefs which are totally distorting the Yukon interest.

Up 85 Down 70

June Jackson on Jan 5, 2016 at 10:30 am

Using our money to fight us.. that is opposition to the total development of the Peel.. Cool.

Up 202 Down 144

Dr. Dave on Jan 4, 2016 at 5:32 pm

The government hasn't spent a penny. They have spent our money. They have spent the money of anyone who pays taxes. They have spent money that was entrusted to them to use wisely. They have not done this. They have broken our trust.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.