Liberal Leadership Candidate Christy Clark’s bombastic comments about the recent federal ruling on the Prosperity Mine proposal are inaccurate, irresponsible, and unhelpful says the Independent MLA from Cariboo North.
“While I understand Ms. Clark is trying to show leadership on the economic file during the final days of the Liberal’s leadership contest, her comments about the Prosperity Mine project simply add more fuel to a fire we’re trying to put out in the region. A region that would benefit from this and other mining proposals,” said MLA Bob Simpson.
Simpson said that promising to bully the Federal government into reversing its decision, claiming that bureaucrats in Ottawa made the decision divorced from community input, and dismissing out of hand the legitimate environmental and First Nations concerns about this project is not showing leadership on this issue and represents a step backward in the debate about the future of this proposed mine.
“If Ms. Clark actually pursued this path should she win the Liberal leadership contest, it would have the opposite effect from her stated desire as it would send a message to First Nations, investors, and citizens that the outcomes of science-based project reviews can be superseded by crass political interference and bully tactics,” said the Independent MLA.
Simpson offered the following advice to all of the Liberal leadership candidates: “Taseko Mines has already indicated they would submit an alternate proposal that does not involve draining Fish Lake and would address some of the significant adverse environmental impacts that were condemned in their original decision, so asking for a reversal of that decision is a clear step backward. As a sign of good faith to the First Nations in the Chilcotin, the provincial government should rescind its current permits for the Prosperity Project and commit to engaging with the Federal Government and First Nations on a joint review of Taseko’s alternative proposal.”
The MLA from Cariboo North also stated that it is the Provincial government that can ensure the success of the Prosperity proposal by actively engaging affected First Nations on their rights and title issues in advance of, and separate from the environmental review process.
“Like Ms. Clark, I would like to see people of the Cariboo-Chilcotin benefit from our rich mineral resources as part of a comprehensive economic development and diversification strategy for the region. But, this development must be undertaken in a manner that respects First Nations constitutionally guaranteed rights, employs the best available technologies and practices to reduce our ecological footprint, and is protected from crass political interference."
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