Saturday, September 11, 2010

Stephen Harper Must Choose Between the Environment and a Toxic Mine. He'll Pick the Mine

Jim Prentice, our not so much an environmental minister, as a crash test dummy, is in possession of a report prepared by his office, that determines that a proposed Prosperity mine, 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake in B.C., would inflict serious environmental harm.

John Ibbitson suggests that this is the toughest decision that Stephen Harper will ever have to make.

Obviously John Ibbitson does not know Stephen Harper at all. We do.

This is a man who is now allowing mines to dump their waste into our lakes and was hush hush when nuclear waste was being leaked into a river. "A larger leak at the 50-year-old reactor in December was not reported to the public for weeks, prompting allegations of a cover-up and suggestions the public had been put at risk." They claimed the leak was small. No leak of nuclear waste into our rivers is "too small" to report.
The B.C. government is fully behind the mine. Its own environmental assessment concluded that the economic gains to the region outweighed the environmental costs. But federal permits are also required, And a review panel established by Environment Minister Jim Prentice concluded the mine would produce “high magnitude, long-term and irreversible” damage.

Fish Lake, which the B.C. government has featured in photographs in tourism materials, would have to be drained. The lake sustains a population of 90,000 rainbow trout, which is an important supplemental food source for the Tsilhqot’in ... The review panel also concluded that the mine would do serious damage to the habitat of the region’s grizzly bear population, which the provincial government has classified as “threatened.”
There is a great cause for concern:
Mining Watch Canada and the Council of Canadians are asking the federal government to intervene and help save Fish Lake. A proposed copper and gold mine next to the lake threatens to release toxins into the environment. Over 10 000 signatures have been collected from across the country. The lake also has cultural significance for the Tsilhqot'in National Government and the community was not consulted when the mining site was approved by the BC government. They have argued that the area not only contains sacred burial grounds, but that with the low income of the population the community is dependent on hunting and fishing the land to survive.
Now let's see. Stephen Harper must choose between a multi-national corporation and the environment. I think we already know what his choice will be. He is the man allowing the foreign takeover of our country:
The latest flashpoint in the long-standing conflict over the loss of Canadian corporations to foreign buyers is over potash. Potash is the stuff from which industrial fertilizers are made. Given the clout of the Australian mining giant BHP Billiton, the largest mining company in the world, it is likely that the $38.6 billion (US) takeover of Potash Corp. will succeed. It will be reviewed to determine if Canada receives a “net benefit” under the Investment Canada Act. But as only one takeover since 2007 has been turned down -- Vancouver-based MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, of its space division, to a U.S. firm -- it is likely this one will be rubber-stamped.

So another resource company will move out of Canadian control. The list of iconic Canadian corporations that are Canadian no longer is fairly shocking. Since 2007, we have lost Hudson Bay, Inco, Falconbridge, Dofasco, Alcan, and Stelco to name the largest. 2007 was a year of all –time high foreign takeovers, but 2010 has a larger number of transactions already. Despite reviews to ensure a “net benefit,” the track record is not re-assuring, US Steel did not honour promises to Stelco workers, and Brazilian Vale did not keep its commitments to former Inco workers.
We have got to get rid of this guy ASAP.

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