MLA Steven Fletcher: Don’t create national park on Thompson Nickel Belt extension (Northern Miner – December 2017)

Northern Miner

The following is an edited transcript of Steven Fletcher — Independent Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for Assiniboia and a Conservative Member of the Canadian Parliament from 2004–15 — speaking in the Manitoba Assembly on Nov. 9 on the subject of a proposal to establish a national park overtop an extension of the Thompson nickel belt.

This is an issue of urgency and of public importance. The federal Liberal government announced, in their 2017 budget, plans for a national park. Though we are all supportive of parks, it’s very important where the parks are located.

The federal government announced it, apparently without consulting anyone — First Nations communities, not sure if they consulted the provincial government or not. If they did, the provincial government should have said no. And if they didn’t, the provincial government should have said no immediately after the announcement.

That has not occurred and, in my new space [having been elected MLA in 2016], this is the only opportunity and the only manner that I have to raise this issue.

Madam Speaker, this Lowlands National Park is right on top of the extension of the Thompson Nickel Belt. The Thompson Nickel Belt is where the jobs and economy and royalties and tax revenue are generated in the third-largest industry in Manitoba, by and large. And that is the nickel mines in Thompson.

The resources around Thompson — the currently discovered orebodies — are coming to an end of their life and being mined out. There needs to be new exploration and new development to be found. The Thompson Nickel Belt is a well-known and defined area.

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