Panel just doing its job

Last week was not a wonderful one for Taseko Mines Ltd.

Last week was not a wonderful one for Taseko Mines Ltd. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s panel found deficiencies in the company’s Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Prosperity Mine, thus setting back the approval process. On another front, 99 per cent of the company’s union workers at Gibraltar Mines voted to strike if necessary.

I know nothing about the situation at Gibraltar, but the CEAA  panel is simply doing the job it was appointed to do, which is to ensure the Prosperity Mine operation won’t adversely impact the environment in the area, now or in the future. This point often gets lost in the rhetoric. The panel has reason to be cautious. Historically, mines and mills do not have wonderful track records when it comes to cleaning up their messes, it’s often (usually?) left to governments to do it. E.g., last week the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Newfoundland/Labrador is stuck with a $50 to $100 million tab to deal with the pollution left by an Atibi Bowater pulp mill that went bankrupt. Regarding the Tsilhqot’in National Government’s delegation to city council last week, I wondered why two uniformed RCMP officers were present. Do policemen usually attend council meetings?

Seven members of my family attend school in this district, so I have more than a passing interest in how our school board copes with the current financial situation. What baffles me is why trustees play the goat. Why not let the experts in the provincial government’s education ministry who set the funding formula see what wonders they could achieve in this district within those funding limits. Still on schools, the only effective deterrent to bullying I know of is for the victims to have a strong-minded older sibling at the same school to stick up for them. Unfortunately most kids don’t have such a protector.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

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