Mining firm, unions at odds over admission of documents in foreign workers case – by Dene Moore (Globe and Mail – April 9, 2013)

Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Legal wrangling bogged down what was to be the first day of a Federal Court judicial review of temporary foreign worker permits issued to a Northern B.C. coal mine.

On Tuesday, lawyers for one of the companies involved in the project, Canadian Dehua International Mines Group, asked the court to disregard some of the affidavits submitted by the unions among the thousands of pages of documents filed in the case.

“These written submissions are full of extraordinarily inflammatory language, accusing HD Mining of being a liar, of misrepresenting, of blowing hot and cold and all sort of other spurious allegations which we would submit are not found in evidence,” said Laura Best, lawyer for Dehua, referring to the second company involved, HD Mining International.

Among the “behemoth” of information filed by the unions in their pursuit of a judicial review, are affidavits based on hearsay and false allegations, Ms. Best said. The unions fired back with written arguments labelling the application by the companies to dismiss the affidavits as an abuse of process.

Two unions are challenging the government decision last year granting HD Mining permission to bring miners from China to perform preliminary work at its proposed Murray River project near Tumbler Ridge, B.C.

The company received positive labour market opinions – documents that confirm a skilled labour shortage – from Service Canada that allowed them to bring 201 miners from overseas to perform bulk sampling work at the proposed mine.

The Construction and Specialized Workers Union, Local 1611, and the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 115, say Canadian workers are willing and able to perform those jobs.

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