MEDIA RELEASE – B.C. LIBERAL APPROACH TO MINING CREATES UNCERTAINTY, SAYS NDP

November 7, 2011

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MEDIA RELEASE
For Immediate ReleaseNov. 7, 2011  B.C. LIBERAL APPROACH TO MINING CREATES UNCERTAINTY, SAYS NDP  VICTORIA — Forcing through the Taseko Prosperity mine project without the support of local First Nations will create an atmosphere of distrust and conflict which will lead to more uncertainty on the land base, making it harder for other mines to go forward in British Columbia, say New Democrats.  “If we want to do business on the land base we need to build a strong relationship of trust and partnership with First Nations,” said New Democrat mining critic Doug Donaldson. “Unfortunately, thanks to a weak provincial environmental assessment process and the failure of the B.C. Liberals to work meaningfully with the Tsilhqot’in people, this project doesn’t have the social license to go forward.”  The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency announced today that a federal review panel will consider a revised proposal for what Taseko is calling the “New Prosperity” mine project. The Tsilhqot’in strongly oppose Taseko’s mining proposals due to what they see as insurmountable environmental impacts.  “Unfortunately, instead of working with the Tsilhqot’in and other First Nations who are opposed to Taseko’s proposals, the Liberals continue to ignore their concerns,” said Scott Fraser, New Democrat critic for aboriginal relations and reconciliation.  “The Liberals must work towards getting the free, prior and informed consent of First Nations or risk deepening the atmosphere of distrust which will only make it harder for other mining companies to bring First Nations on board with their proposals.”  New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming noted that the initial Liberal environmental assessment of Prosperity mine, which endorsed the destruction of an entire ecosystem, including a lake with tens of thousands of fish in it, has already seriously undermined trust in the assessment process.  “When Premier Christy Clark said the federal decision to say no to destroying an entire ecosystem was ‘dumb,’ she signalled to British Columbians who care about the environment that she doesn’t share their values,” said Fleming.  “Combined that with an Auditor General’s report which shows the Liberals are neglecting to monitor whether companies are fulfilling their environmental obligations that result from an already weak process, and British Columbians are left rightfully skeptical about the Liberals’ ability to do these kinds of projects right.  “The province of British Columbia and affected First Nations must have a meaningful voice in any new federal process,” said Fleming.  Adrian Dix and B.C.’s New Democrats are committed to building strong relationships with First Nations while ensuring B.C. has a robust mining industry guided by effective environmental protections.  —30—  Media Contact: Jennifer Jones 250-889-6308

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