The Fish Lake Mining Project is Justin Trudeau's moment of truth. He has promised to build a new relationship between his government and Canada's First Nations. Just as the Dakota Access Pipeline has become a do or die moment for American First Nations, Fish Lake has become a defining moment for Canada's Tsilhqot’in Nation. Michael Harris writes:
The New Prosperity Mine — said to be the last major deposit of gold and copper in North America — included turning the pristine lake into a toxic dump site for the proposed mine’s tailings. Even without that outrageous component, the company’s proposal was turned down a second time in 2014 because the feds thought the mine would cause severe environmental damage, harm Tsilhqot’in culture and violate aboriginal rights.
And what Taseko Mines Ltd. proposes would cause all kinds of other environmental damage:
Taseko has asked for permits from the British Columbia government that would allow the company to begin “exploratory drilling”, even though the project doesn’t have federal approval. Here is what exploratory drilling comes down to: 122 drill set holes, 76 kilometres of roads, 367 test pits, 20 kilometres of seismic lines and a 50-man work camp.
For the Tsilhqor'in the lake is sacred ground. For Taseko it's lots of money. And the company has already invested $130 million there. Christy Clark is on side with the company. But whose side is Justin on?
He'll have to choose.
Image: Wilderness Committee