As Taseko Mines Ltd. submits its next attempt to make “Prosperity” operational, I think it might be wise to caution the company from fuelling another wasted effort.
Chief executive officer Russell Hallbauer presents seemingly good intentions: “Our initiative to preserve Fish Lake and accommodate the concerns of the federal government and First Nations communities is a major commitment and undertaking by Taseko.”
The statement coincides with an impoverished view that the proposal can be mitigated or accommodated without the consent of indigenous people.
That is, the company plans to develop on land that has never been legitimately relinquished to the Crown, and demonstrates total disregard towards the Tsilhqot’in aspirations for the region.
So while pretending to validate First Nations concerns, the truth is that there is a no-trust relationship to base this insincere “commitment.” A relationship is important and it is maintained through trust.
The fact that Taseko has had difficulties maintaining trustworthy relations is significant.
Taseko has demonstrated that it cares more about money than people, particularly in its attempts to exclude indigenous people as an authority in their own home.
The company supported the provincial government’s decision to undermine the joint panel process; and the company supported the B.C. Liberal politicians through substantial political donations — illustrating Taseko’s willingness to interfere in the decision-making process.
However, the most contentious choice concerning Taseko’s persistent advancements, and an instant relationship breaker, is the fact that indigenous rights mean very little in their minds.
This contempt for basic constitutionally guaranteed rights, and the potential infringement on those rights and title as outlined in the federal panel’s report, calls into question their moral capacity to understand and respect Tsilhqot’in cultural values and authority, the region’s history, and basic legal norms concerning consent.
Such contempt was furthered while appeal court proceedings are currently in the process of resolving the land dispute. To date, in the midst of Christy Clark’s plot to continue the aggressive saga for Taseko, it remains unwise to engage in politically divisive activities, especially when it requires promoting the illegal and immoral invasion of indigenous lands.
As such, the defenders will remain righteous.
Russell Myers 150 Mile House