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VIEW: Ottawa must not sell out Tsilhqot’in, says Baptiste

Marilyn Baptiste, Chief of the Xeni Gwet’in of the Tsilhqot’in Nation, writes in an op-ed in The Globe and Mail today that, “The federal cabinet is expected to debate Tuesday a proposal for a copper-gold mine near Williams Lake, B.C. The mine would destroy the traditional lands and the sacred Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) of the Xeni Gwet’in and its sister Tsilhqot’in nations.”

She adds, “The company behind the proposal, Taseko Mines Ltd., says the mine would generate $5-billion in economic activity over 20 years – a welcome prospect to the province and local towns hit hard by job losses. Taseko also says it plans to create an artificial lake that would eventually be home to the offspring of the 90,000 trout that would be killed when the company uses Fish Lake to store mine tailings. …(But) our message has been clear: No amount of money could compensate for what this mine would do to our people and the land we treasure.”

Baptiste highlights, “We have played by the federal government’s rules to make our case, and now we expect it to do the same. After 60 days of hearings during which witnesses overwhelmingly opposed the mine, a Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Review Panel reported that the project would cause significant and irreparable harm to our rights, our future generations and the environment on which we depend. It also found that no proposed mitigation would address the harm that would be caused. The report is too long to detail. Suffice it to say that federal government departments raised serious concerns, and aboriginal and environmental groups were 100 per cent opposed to the mine.”

Her full op-ed can be read at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/ottawa-must-not-sell-out-tsilhqotin/article1715503/.

You can read more about the campaign to protect Fish Lake on our website at http://canadians.org/TIA.

To respond to our action alert that says that the Schedule 2 exemption that allows for freshwater lakes to be used as garbage dumps for mine waste should be ended, please go to http://canadians.org/action/2010/schedule2.html.