A company called Taseko Mines wants to build a copper and gold mine in central British Columbia. Hearings began on the proposal Monday in Williams Lake, B.C.
Taseko will invest $1.1 billion in the project and hire 550 people directly, plus 1,280 more indirectly in everything from construction to housing to restaurants.
Over the long life of the mine, it’s expected to generate more than a third of a billion dollars a year in GDP. For comparison, that one mine will produce more wealth than B.C.’s entire commercial fishing industry does. So, of course, Taseko must be stopped.
Taseko’s mine — well named as the New Prosperity project — already received provincial approval. But then Ottawa’s extremist Environmental Assessment Agency balked. You see, there’s a little lake nearby, called Fish Lake, that would have been drained by the original proposal. And those fish are more important to Ottawa’s regulators than nearly 2,000 families having well-paid jobs. To Ottawa, if no one else, those fish are worth more than gold.
So Taseko is back, after having added $300 million to their proposal, to save the fish in Fish Lake.
That has delayed the project two years already. Translation: It has delayed 2,000 jobs two years already. Those families can sit and wait while exquisite experts — lawyers, consultants, bureaucrats — from Ottawa debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. That regulatory class of unionized government workers will give the blue-collar miners their answer when they’re good and ready, and not a moment before.
There’s a pecking order here, and guys with hard hats come last.
Too bad. There was a time when men who worked in manufacturing and mining and oil and gas and forestry and fisheries and pipelines were politically valuable. They used to be the backbone of the NDP, and politicians of every stripe sought their endorsements.
What election campaign would be complete without a politician taking off his jacket, putting on a hard hat and sitting in a piece of heavy equipment? But it’s all theatre; blue-collar work is out of fashion. And God forbid you work in the oilsands or in the new industry to be demonized, natural gas fracking.
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