Claude Gravelle in the federal NDP Member of Parliament for the riding of Nickel Belt.

2011 12 08

Public disclosure, full reviews needed for takeovers and Ring of Fire project

 OTTAWA, ON – At a Parliament study hearing on northern resources Wednesday, Nickel Belt MP Claude Gravelle used the appearance of a Northeastern Ontario group to raise the “good and bad” of foreign ownership and takeovers of mining companies and the giant chromite “Ring of Fire” project.

 Citing this week’s news on a Polish firm takeover bid of Quadra FNX, Gravelle acknowledged foreign ownership sometimes will happen but Canada’s record has not been good on takeovers.

 “Contrary to what some people will tend to make you believe, the NDP is not against foreign ownership, but we are against foreign takeovers,” Gravelle said. “I have three private member’s bills that would make foreign takeovers more transparent, would involve the communities, and would involve workers.”

 “We have concerns about this Government’s lack of dedication in protecting Canadians.”

 Brennain Lloyd, testifying for Northwatch, a public interest organization concerned with environmental protection and social development in North-eastern Ontario, urged that sustainable development principles on ecological limits and impacts be respected for major projects like the Ring of Fire.

 “While we certainly recognize that mining activities bring economic activities and there will be certain benefits at both the local and larger scale, it is important that these be assessed and weighed very pragmatically, within longer term economic challenges that inevitably move in when the mine runs out and the mining companies move on.”

 Lloyd said the Ring of Fire needs a regional and comprehensive environment assessment given the number of development projects being contemplated, plus its related infrastructure.

 First Nations communities in the region who have met with Gravelle and other Northern Ontario NDP MPs made it clear they favour the Ring of Fire project but want a real voice and partnership as the massive mine project moves forward.