The telephone of John Manley, Canada’s minister of industry, will be ringing off the hook during the work week starting Nov. 27. And that’s because people from across the country will be calling the minister to remind him of promises made in a document entitled Building a More Innovative Economy, otherwise known as the Orange Book.
While it is not often that politicians make their promises in writing, it appears that the Orange Book gave itself a deadline of 1995 to improve the climate for mining in Canada. The document notes that “the number of jobs is shrinking in this industry, underlying the importance of eliminating unintended burdens, such as unneeded regulation E”
The government writes of its intention to make “comprehensive improvements to the federal regulatory regime to promote sustainable development, provide for greater certainty, and reduce delays and costs related to environmental and land-use decision making.”
The document then identified six regulatory areas where “tangible improvements can be achieved” — namely, administration of the Fisheries Act; land-use and related decision-making; definition of waste; regulatory regimes north of the 60th Parallel; regulatory impact analysis; and toxics management.
With 1995 drawing to a close, there is little doubt the government will fall short of achieving these objectives. The Mining Association of Canada (MAC), for example, is clearly frustrated and, in a press release, says, “we have not seen any tangible signs that the government will make good on its promises.”
And that is why MAC and the Keep Mining in Canada campaign have organized the “Keep Mining in Canada Phone Week.” The idea is to continue to apply pressure to the government, showing that the mining community has not forgotten the promises that were made.
Manley’s number is (613) 995-9001. Miners, geologists, suppliers and stockbrokers — indeed, anyone directly or indirectly involved in the mining industry — is urged to pick up the phone and call. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
`G’ as in Gone
Few tears will be shed by British Columbia’s mining community for Michael Harcourt, who recently resigned as premier of British Columbia (in part because of the much-publicized “bingo” scandal). For most in the industry, Harcourt will be remembered as a weak-willed man who bowed to international pressure and environmental extremists and killed, forever, the rich Windy Craggy deposit.
Granted, Harcourt’s New Democratic Party government has tried to make amends for the wrong by compensating Geddes Resources, and helping it develop another copper deposit in the province. But the Windy Craggy “chill factor” will linger for years to come as part of the NDP’s legacy, comparable to the harm caused by the previous NDP government when, in the 1970s, it all but killed the province’s mining industry by imposing onerous royalties and taxes.