WHITEHORSE – Environment Minister Dennis Fentie officially assumed the president’s chair of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) as the federal, provincial and territorial ministers concluded their two-day annual meeting last week in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
"I believe strongly in the importance of responding to issues such as climate change and see CCME as one of the forums in which we can do so," Fentie told his fellow ministers. "As is clear today, there are some tough political issues on our plate, and CCME promotes a healthy and respectful dialogue that bodes well for our future."
The ministers dealt with air and water quality issues and discussed how they could work together in further reducing risks posed by air pollutants and greenhouse gases.
Work has now started on Yukon hosting the 2008 CCME meeting. Issues to be discussed are expected to include climate change, improved understanding and management of groundwater resources, the coordination of environmental assessments and a Canada-wide strategy to improve the handling of municipal wastewater.
Fentie also attended the federal, provincial, territorial Parks Ministers' meeting last Tuesday in Winnipeg.
He spoke of the success the Yukon government has made in engaging First Nations and the Inuvialuit in parks establishment, management and operations.
He also the noted that Yukon was second in Canada, after British Columbia, in the percentage of land covered by parks and protected areas. That percentage stands at 12.75 of the total Yukon area.