Canada's top court is poised to say whether or not it wants to deal with the Peel watershed land use plan debacle.
The Supreme Court of Canada is scheduled to release its leave to appeal decision on Thursday, June 9 at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Officially it's case #36779 - First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun, et al v. Government of Yukon.
"Et al" includes Dawson City's Tron'dek Hwech'in, the Old-Crow based Vuntut Gwich'in, the Yukon Conservation Society and CPAWS-Yukon. The N.W.T.-based Gwich'in Tribal Council wants to be an intervener if the court decides to hear the appeal.
The case against the Yukon government dates back to early 2014. It was launched just days after the government imposed a controversial land use plan for the region. That plan provided almost no protection and was in stark contrast to the 80 per cent protection put forward in the plan developed by the independent Peel planning commission.
The Yukon Supreme Court sided with the First Nations and environmental groups. It ruled the government had broken the Yukon's modern-day treaty by rejecting the commission's plan and replacing it with one it produced unilaterally.
The court quashed the government's Peel plan. It also ordered the Yukon to redo the consultation on the final recommended plan.
Although the government didn't deny the wrongdoing, it did take issue with the court-ordered remedy. If it had to go back in time, it argued before the Yukon Court of Appeal, it should go back to a much earlier point in the process where its pro-development ambitions would be considered.
The Yukon Court of Appeal agreed with the government, saying it should pick up where it left off in 2010 and submit new proposals to the (now defunct) planning commission.
The First Nations and environmental groups think that's wrong. They say it gives the government the chance to sneak its development proposals through the back door.
They're hoping the Supreme Court of Canada at least agrees to hear its arguments. If they get their way, it could be at least another year before it's all settled or well after the next territorial election which has to be held by this fall.
Yukon Court of Appeal decision 2015
Yukon Supreme Court decision 2014
Final Recommended Plan 2011
Recommended Plan 2009