To the Editor,
In light of Premier Clark’s intention to transform B.C. into a free enterprise bargain basement for Chinese investors and plunge in the export coal market, we have no reason to believe that the Raven Coal Mine will protect the environment and create jobs and economic development for local communities.
Compliance Energy’s claims that Canada has “world class” environmental laws that would protect the environment are contradicted by Premier Clark’s election pledge to create a “free enterprise province” by removing regulatory red tape and permitting mine owners to hire Chinese miners who will work for lower wages than Canadians.
Premier Clark’s free enterprise agenda is supported by recent Harper government actions: axing the Fisheries Act and signing the Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA) with China. FIPA allows Chinese corporations to sue the Canadian government for loss of revenue due to enforcement of environmental laws.
Currently, a plunge in demand and prices has led to thousands of coal miner layoffs, mines closing and declaring bankruptcy, and predictions that coal is in its sunset phase or will not revive until post 2015.
Compliance Energy, however, continues to promise it will provide 350 stable jobs and $1.1 billion to local communities for the 17-year duration of the mine’s life.
Why this denial of coal economics and politics?
Could Compliance Energy be counting on being bought by a Chinese mining conglomerate like HD International that is filling jobs with hundreds of temporary Chinese miners and assured via FIPA that it can recoup losses from enforcement of environmental acts by suing the Canadian government?
If so, how can a non-regulated foreign owned network of coal mines in the Comox Valley, possibly employing Chinese miners, benefit the environment or impacted communities?