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Delegation in Ottawa to oppose mine

On the heels of a pro-New Prosperity delegation having just returned from Ottawa last week, another delegation against the controversial project left for Ottawa Monday to have its position heard.

Tsilhqot’in Tribal Chair Joe Alphonse, Xeni Gwet’in Chief Roger William, J.P. Laplante, mining, gas and oil manager for the Tsilhqot’in National Government, Sage Birchwater of the Fish Lake Alliance based in Williams Lake, Patricia Spencer of Friends of Fish Lake (FOFL)based near 100 Mile House, and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip make up the delegation.

“This is something we were planning,” William said from Ottawa Tuesday afternoon. “We knew that Minister of Mines Bill Bennett has been lobbying for the mine here in Ottawa and the group of business people who came here last week were too. We planned all along to come and support the panel report.”

William said when it comes to issues around economics and jobs in the Cariboo Chilcotin, there are lots of other opportunities for jobs outside of mining.

On Thursday the group will meet with Conservative M.P. Dr. Colin Carrie, Parliamentary Secretary to Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Birchwater said. On Tuesday they met with NDP MPs Nathan Cullen, Finn Donnelly, Peter Julian and mines critic Claude Gravelle, as well as  Liberal MP John MacKay.

William said the group will also meet with representatives from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

The FOFL said it was concerned about the negative impacts the project would have on First Nations.

“First Nations leadership from both the Tsilhqot’in and Secwepemc were unanimous in their rejection of the mine proposal,” FOFL noted in a press release.

The Fish Lake Alliance supports the Tsilhqot’in right to protect Fish Lake and the “importance of including First Nations directly in the major resource development projects in their traditional homelands,” Birchwater said.

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