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Wednesday, February 9, 2011



VICTORIA — Christy Clark’s position on the Taseko Prosperity mine near Williams Lake shows she will be combative with the federal government, doesn’t respect the need to consult with First Nations, and puts the environment last on her list of priorities, say New Democrats.

“The federal government’s decision not to approve this mine was a condemnation of the B.C. Liberals’ environmental decisions and their failure to adequately consult with First Nations. To allow Taseko to drain a pristine fish bearing lake to build the mine isn’t responsible development. Christy Clark sees it instead as an inconvenience and wants to start a fight with Ottawa instead of fixing the broken approval system,” said New Democrat energy and mines critic Doug Donaldson, noting the project’s bigger hurdle is still a lack of First Nations support.

Rather than committing to come up with solutions with local communities, First Nations, and Taseko, Christy Clark said Tuesday it was a “dumb decision” to not allow the mine, focusing on her perception that it is bad politics and threatening the federal Conservatives with election troubles if she doesn’t get her way.

“It is frightening to see what we can expect if Christy Clark becomes premier. The federal environment minister said the environmental assessment report on the mine was ‘the most condemning report’ he’d seen, calling the environmental concerns ‘pronounced’ and ‘scathing,’” said New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming, pointing out Jim Prentice cited the “loss of the entire ecosystem” in his decision.

Since the ruling in November, Taseko has conceded it may be able to build the mine without killing the lake, a position the company insisted would be impossible when it appeared it may get approval.

“Christy Clark has been dodging questions about her plan to protect the environment throughout the campaign. Finally we see that her agenda sacrifices the environment and science-based decisions from federal regulators with a political plan to bully Ottawa into allowing the destruction of Fish Lake and surrounding ecosystems.

“It's incredible the B.C. Liberals have leadership candidates who don't respect Canadian law and the Fisheries Act and are without ideas to motivate industry to find alternate solutions that work for our environment,” said Fleming.

Fleming noted that, along with her associate Patrick Kinsella, Christy Clark co-authored the B.C. Liberals’ 2001 election platform, which was devastating for First Nations and for the environment, and she has said she wants to return to the same tactics Gordon Campbell employed a decade ago.

“Does Christy Clark want to adopt the same approach the B.C. Liberal government took when they decimated environmental protection and undermined the rights of First Nations? That’s not the change that British Columbians are looking for,” said Fleming.

B.C.’s New Democrats are working on solutions to ensure that natural resources are used effectively to create jobs in British Columbia, while respecting First Nations, environmental sustainability and local community needs.

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