About 250 people crowded into St. Andrew’s on the Square on a muggy Friday night to hear a panel speak against the Ajax Mine proposal.
Though the event was promoted as a town hall gathering open to all, the thrust of all who spoke, including national Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, was firmly against the open pit copper/gold mine.
May pledged to convey what she learned on her visit to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Minister of Natural Resource Jim Carr in Ottawa.
“This is a community that cannot be described as anti-mining,” May said, noting the extent of heavy industry in Kamloops. “I think we need to make it clear you’re not against mining, you’re against this mine.”
May, who toured the mine site earlier in the day, admitted she doesn’t know why the environmental assessment review process has been paused.
“I've heard that it may be to get the mine past the provincial election,” she said. "That's one theory."
She had harsh words for the federal assessment process, describing it as a “dog’s breakfast,” a continuing legacy of the Harper Conservative government. She was more forgiving of the Trudeau government, which has opted for consultation on how to fix the process before taking any new measures. Unlike his predecessor, Trudeau is attempting to lead rather than dictate to his cabinet, she noted.
"I don't want to blame everything on what's-his-name, it's just that we underestimate everything that has happened in the last 10 years."
May’s advice was to write letters to newspapers and politicians, mount petitions and ensure that those outside of the community, in Vancouver, Victoria and Ottawa, know the “down sides” to the proposal. Petitions to MPs, which require a minimum of 25 names, can be effective if they’re presented in Parliament, she said.
She also warned the audience of the implications of trade agreements such as CETA and TPP. Giving overseas corporations the power to challenge Canadian law if it reduces their expectations of profit is “dangerous,” she said.
Coun. Denis Walsh recounted his key observations from the civic tour of Eastern mining towns in May and reiterated his comments on the proposed tailings storage facility.
“I don’t think we’d be in this situation if City council had taken a position,” he said, alluding to some of his colleagues who have refrained so far from doing so. “I think we need to take a position.”
Dr. Jill Calder said a lack of trust in the regulatory system led about 30 local physicians to form Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment. Its membership has since grown to “well over 100.”
“We have problems with the height, the location, the size, the size of our city … We don’t think the risks can be balanced with the benefits.”
May said she sent a note to her friend, MP Cathy McLeod, as a matter of protocol and to let her know there was standing-room only in the hall.
July 30, 2016 11:32am
Voters in Kamloops will remember.
Regarding Stone and what's his name, both will be removed at the next election, the majority of voters want a change and will take their chances on a new government just to get them out.
Mel Rothenburger says:
July 30, 2016 11:38am
The problem, politically speaking, of course, is that no matter which way members of council voted on Ajax, they'd get about half the voters mad at them. But my guess is that if a vote were held, it would be 5-4 against Ajax.