How the NDP is trying to be pro-mining – by Kim Mackrael (Globe and Mail – March 5, 2014)

The 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.

The federal NDP is positioning itself as a pro-mining party that would revive stalled negotiations on Ontario’s Ring of Fire development while keeping federal regulations “lean.”

Speaking with The Globe and Mail during a global mining conference in Toronto this week, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said his party would seek buy-in from First Nations communities to speed up new developments. The annual convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada has become a global attraction, drawing nearly 30,000 delegates and dozens of MPs.

Mr. Mulcair pointed to the fact that the NDP has a critic for mining issues – MP Claude Gravelle, from the Nickel Belt riding in Northern Ontario – as evidence his party takes the topic seriously. “We’re very interested and we want you to succeed,” Mr. Mulcair said he told industry representatives.

The NDP stepped up its presence at this year’s PDAC convention, with 16 MPs attending the event – four times the number present last year and a sign the NDP wants to show the mining industry it takes its concerns seriously.

On Sunday, Mr. Mulcair invited media to follow him on a formal tour of the convention, while his party touted the expertise of Mr. Gravelle and Romeo Saganash, who was involved in negotiations between the Quebec government and Cree communities in the province. Mr. Saganash met with Ontario NDP MPPs on Tuesday to discuss negotiations to develop the Ring of Fire mineral deposit in Northern Ontario.

Asked why the NDP had increased its presence at the conference, Mr. Mulcair pointed to the size of the mining industry and the tax and royalty revenues it provides. “Also, in terms of the long-term future of the country, the best thing that we can do is to make sure that we get things right in terms of mineral exploration and extraction,” he said.

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