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Amid political uncertainty, former B.C. mines minister joins Eagle Plains Resources

by Greg Klein | June 15, 2017

Three days after finishing his term as British Columbia’s minister of mines and energy, Eagle Plains Resources TSXV:EPL announced Bill Bennett’s appointment as a director. Bennett chose not to run in last month’s election but officially held the ministry until a new cabinet was sworn in on June 12.

Amid political uncertainty, former B.C. mines minister joins Eagle Plains Resources

During his 16 years as an MLA, Bennett served three stints as minister of mining. Calling him the government’s “go-to person” for the industry, Eagle Plains stated, “There are few people in Canada who have such a strong combined knowledge of government processes, of the mining industry and of First Nations.”

Eagle Plains is a project generator with a portfolio in B.C., Yukon and Saskatchewan. Bennett replaces Canadian Mining Hall of Fame inductee Ron Netolitzky, who moves to the company’s advisory board.

Bennett’s replacement at the legislature cabinet table, meanwhile, is Rich Coleman, a former mines minister himself who most recently held portfolios for natural gas development and housing.

How long the cabinet will last, however, remains to be seen. The May election destroyed the governing BC Liberals’ majority, leaving the party with just 43 seats compared with 41 for the New Democratic Party and three for the Greens. The latter party has since signed a pact to support an NDP minority government. Among other ramifications, the deal would presumably give the NDP’s own environmentalists additional influence relative to the party’s supporters from the labour movement.

But speculation persists that the accord could crumble, possibly sooner rather than later.

As the legislature reconvenes on June 22, B.C. faces the possibility of a snap election with the Liberals best prepared to finance a campaign. According to Black Press correspondent Tom Fletcher, that party raised more money than it was allowed to spend last time around, while the other two parties “are likely broke if not in debt.”

Additionally, the National Post reported that the Liberals raised over $300,000 within 48 hours of the NDP and Greens announcing their agreement.

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