VICTORIA – The B.C. Liberal government needs to take responsibility for deregulation that led to the disastrous Mount Polley tailings pond failure, New Democrats said in the legislature today.
“The B.C. Liberal government have deregulated this industry, cutting mine inspections in half, and this is the result: 25 million cubic meters of mine waste pouring into Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake,” said New Democrat opposition leader John Horgan. “Following this disaster, the government told people what it thought they wanted to hear – that there was just clean water and sand spilling out of that dam. It took scientists at UNBC to tell us the truth.”
In the legislature today, New Democrat opposition called on the BC Liberal government to finally release the inspection reports for this mine so that the public learns all that Christy Clark and her ministers knew before and since this disaster happened.
“Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said his government had no warning that there should be concerns about this operation, despite five government warnings over the previous two years. He even tried to claim that no one from his government had any concern, when a senior government official wrote in 2010 that enforcement staff cuts were threatening tailing dam safety.”
Horgan said he was pleased to hear Minister Bennett say he would take “personal responsibility” if it turns out his ministry has been negligent.
“But if that’s true, I don’t know why he hasn’t resigned yet. We know that this government cut mine inspections in half and even ignored warnings about this operation. They knew there was a problem. They failed to act. I call that negligence.”