NEWS RELEASE: NORTHERN NEW DEMOCRATS ENDORSE MINING STRATEGY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2011

NDP only party with a mining strategy, and a mining critic – MP Gravelle

SUDBURY, ON – New Democrats unanimously endorsed a New Democrat Mining Strategy at this weekend’s Northern Council in Sudbury.

“I am so pleased that provincial and federal New Democrats from Northern Ontario endorsed this plan which protects Canada’s strategic interest by ensuring Canadian workers and their communities will be the primary beneficiaries of our natural resources,” said NDP Leader Jack Layton. “Recent years have seen foreign control over Canada’s mining sector rise from 12% when the Harpers Conservatives took power to over 40% today. And Northern Ontario has paid its own price for this increase in foreign control.”

“Over 300,000 Canadians, particularly those living and working in rural, Northern and remote communities, are directly employed in the mining sector,” said Claude Gravelle, (Nickel Belt), the NDP’s Mining Critic and the strategy’s author. “The mining, metals and mineral exploration sector, is worth $66 billion and directly contributes almost 4% of Canada’s total GDP, even before consideration of economic spin-offs. So, it is critical that we have a strategic plan in place to defend our interests.”

Some key elements of the NDP Mining Strategy include:

– Fostering a Canadian-owned and controlled mining, metals and mineral exploration industry;

– Amending the Investment Canada Act to ensure foreign investment is truly of “net benefit” to Canada and Canadian communities through a public and transparent process that encourages community input and allows for effective punishment when commitments are not respected;

– Requiring, as a condition of the approval of foreign investments, companies to process locally the greatest proportion feasible of materials mined in Canada; 

– Renewing and fostering partnerships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, including comprehensive and respectful consultations, to ensure greater economic and employment opportunities and a broader Aboriginal engagement in resource management;

– Promoting sustainable and responsible corporate behaviour with high environmental, labour and human rights standards, including discouraging high grading;

– Implementing, in consultation with industry and community leaders and other levels of government, a national mining labour strategy to identify and address evolving needs;

– Developing policies, including requiring higher bonds for reclamation, to protect jobs, salaries, and communities during volatile times; and

– Promoting the vitality and development of dynamic, locally-based small businesses, particularly so-called “juniors” and those engaged in exploration and prospecting.

The NDP Mining Strategy also calls for a full, public and transparent review of the proposed takeover of the Toronto stock exchange by the London stock exchange and a rejection of that merger if it cannot be demonstrated to be of net benefit to Canada and Canadian communities.

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