Tuesday 25th October 2016

Resource Clips

Week in review

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Court case, conflict allegations surround scheme to import Chinese miners

Union and government lawyers squared off in a Vancouver court this week over an injunction to prevent HD Mining from exclusively using Chinese miners to staff its Murray River coal project in northeastern British Columbia.

Labour groups state that Chinese proponents didn’t try to recruit Canadians, offered substandard wages, made Mandarin a job requirement and will overwhelm B.C. safety standards.

Federal lawyers took a truculent stance, appearing to contradict last week’s federal government statement that suggested the work permits might be re-evaluated.

On Thursday Vancouver Province legislative correspondent Michael Smyth asked if the provincial government’s support was explained by $20,810 donated by Chinese coal mining interests to the BC Liberal party. Referring to reports that HD Mining’s Jody Shimkus had worked as an assistant deputy minister in B.C.’s Ministry of Natural Resources less than a year ago, Smyth wrote:

Under conflict-of-interest rules, senior managers face work restrictions for one year after they leave government. Senior managers can’t take a job with a company they dealt with in government, and can’t lobby or make representations on behalf of a company to the ministry where they formerly worked, the rules say.

“I never dealt with HD in government and I haven’t lobbied for them,” Shimkus told me Wednesday, though she also said she didn’t know about the one-year work restrictions when she signed on as HD’s vice-president of environmental and regulatory affairs. “I don’t know what ‘make representations’ means,’ she said. “All I’ve done is help them through the environmental permitting process.”

B.C.’s conflict of interest commissioner and the B.C. Public Service Agency have recently faced unrelated controversies.

Federal lawyers argued that unions should have no standing in the case. Friday’s Vancouver Province ran a Canadian Press story quoting one of them: “That would be turning the entire judicial review process on its head. Is the court to be used for fishing expeditions that go well beyond individual concerns?”

The judge’s response, according to CP: “There’s fish in the lake.”

The case continues next week.

Lust for power checked by lust for …

Avarice—just pure avarice. That’s all that characterizes the money-grubbing quest for gold. Nothing good ever comes of it.

Or does it? Writing in Taki’s Magazine on Saturday, Robert Weissberg credits gold diggers of the metaphorical kind with saving the American republic.

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