First Nations may not have a veto, but they can still stop mining expansion

 
First Nations may not have a veto, but they can still stop mining expansion
 

Bob Simpson
MLA Cariboo North
Media Release
 
   MLA Bob Simpson
 
November 15, 2011
 
Bob Simpson, the independent MLA for Cariboo North is challenging the provincial government to rethink its aboriginal relations strategy if it truly wants to see mining expand in BC anytime soon.
 
“The Premier’s misrepresentation of the West Moberly First Nations’ position on the Gething coal mine project is indicative of her government’s increasing lack of respect for the ability of First Nations to thwart or outright stop mining expansion in this province,” said MLA Bob Simpson.
 
“First Nations may not have a direct veto over individual mining projects, but they have constitutional and legal rights which demand higher standards of consultation than the government is currently practicing and First Nations also have the ability to take either legal or direct actions that will chase mining investment away from BC,” said Simpson.
 
Simpson pointed out that the government is so grossly mishandling First Nations consultations with respect to the expansion of Mount Polley Mine in the Likely area that the Williams Lake and Xats’ull Indian Bands have been forced to consider taking either legal or direct action against this expansion.
In Question Period Monday, the Independent MLA asked the government to explicitly state how they were going to address the fact that the Tsilquot’in National Government (TNG) has rejected Taseko Mine’s New Prosperity project even before it undergoes a second federal environmental review.
 
“The provincial government continues to permit the draining of Fish Lake, despite the rejection of that proposal by the Harper government. The province is also acting as though the Prosperity Mine is a ‘done deal’ causing the TNG to take it to court for its continued failure to adhere to even the most basic consultation requirements,” said Simpson.
 
Simpson called on the province to work with the federal government and conduct a joint environmental assessment of Taseko Mines’ New Prosperity project. He also called for the immediate establishment of a government-to-government table with the TNG to begin to address their substantive concerns about mining development on their traditional territories.
 
The Cariboo North MLA indicated he is concerned that opportunities to enjoy a wide range of mining activity in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region will be lost simply because the government is increasingly acting in bad faith towards First Nations.
 
“We have multiple opportunities in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, and all of BC,  to expand existing mines and start new ones, but these exciting prospects will be lost if Premier Clark and her government continue to undervalue and show disrespect for the role First Nations want to play in this development,” said the Independent MLA.
Media Contact: Adam Schaan 250-991-0296
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Adam Schaan
Constituency Assistant
Bob Simpson MLA Cariboo North
#401-410 Kinchant St.
Quesnel BC V2J 7J5
Tel:  250.991.0296
Fax: 250.991.0281
bobsimpsonmla.ca