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NEWS: Assembly of First Nations speaks against Schedule 2

Roger Augustine, the Assembly of First Nations’ Regional Chief for New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island, and Eric Morris, the AFN Regional Chief for the Yukon, write in the National Post today that, “(The) destruction (of Fish Lake) is possible because of government amendments to the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER), attached to the Fisheries Act. MMER contains a loophole called Schedule 2 that acts as a public subsidy to the mining industry. Schedule 2 allows lakes and riparian areas to be converted into ‘tailings impoundment areas’ at the discretion of the government, saving the mining industry costs for proper mining waste treatment and disposal. Schedule 2 allows government and industry to poison our water and kill our marine and wildlife, all in the name of economic development.”

They highlight, “Canadians and First Nations – the Tsilhqot’in included – are not anti-development, but we are anti-destruction. Development must be balanced with sound environmental practices. This (Prosperity Mine) project flagrantly disregards the environment and the laws meant to protect it. …This is a larger issue than just one mine. This is a national issue. If the government refuses to take its own environmental mandates and impact assessments seriously, then all Canadians, not only First Nations, are on the frontline against the mining industry. Cabinet must not set a dangerous precedent for development when it makes its decision. The government should fulfill its fiduciary duties and its responsibility to all Canadians and strike down the Prosperity Mine.”

Their op-ed can be read at http://www.canada.com/technology/Cost+Prosperity/3583286/story.html.

The Williams Lake Tribune reported in late-July that, “Assembly of First Nations (AFN) leaders from across Canada have backed National Chief Shawn Atleo’s call for the federal cabinet to reject the Prosperity gold and copper mine proposal near Williams Lake after more than a decade of study. …The AFN resolution passed (at their annual general assembly) in Winnipeg describes the Prosperity mine project as a test case. The chiefs’ assembly voted to ‘advise the federal government that First Nations across Canada are watching its decision to see whether there remains any value or integrity in environmental assessments for major projects, or whether First Nations must turn to litigation and other means to assert our rights and protect our cultures.’”

More on that at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=4294.


To send a message to environment minister Jim Prentice that the Schedule 2 exemption that threatens Fish Lake must be closed, please go to the Council of Canadians website at http://canadians.org/action/2010/schedule2.html.


CTV.ca reported in early-September that, “Sources have told CTV News that the federal cabinet is divided on the issue and is delaying its decision on whether to approve the mine. …But the B.C. Conservative caucus — especially in the north — is said to be solidly in favour, because jobs in the forestry industry are disappearing.” The Vancouver Sun reported on September 14 that, “Taseko vice-president Brian Battison said in an interview Monday that the international mining investment community is watching closely what message the Tories will send when they announce a decision some time in the next three to five weeks about whether or not the project can proceed.” That puts the timing of the announcement around October 5 to October 19. Xeni Gwet’in Chief Marilyn Baptiste wrote in a recent Globe and Mail op-ed that the federal cabinet was expected to debate the issue on Tuesday September 21.