Mining in B.C. has a long history of being glamorized, romanticized, prioritized and given freedoms to act that no other industry or citizen enjoys. As a result, incalculable harm has been caused (and continues to be caused) since the province was colonized more than one and a half centuries ago.
Perhaps — as part of its recent throne speech commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — the current B.C. government will finally address the dark side of an industry that has for so long inflicted so much misery and destruction in pursuit of gold and other minerals.
This dark side is a shameful history that we First Nations know only too well, and which government after government, decade after decade, has ignored. Some might have been too easily bought by the promise of mining revenues, others too afraid of the political might of an industry used to always getting what it wants.
After so many broken promises and ignored pleas, we can hope that positive statements coming from the current B.C. government — and even from some quarters of the mining sector — mean that this time it will be different. But words minus action equals zero.
Action is in the interest of all British Columbians. First Nations have always been on the front lines when the bulldozers move in and the land and waters are faced with ruin. But we all need clean air, clean water and the diversity of a strong economy that also depends greatly on salmon, tourism and other sustainable sectors — sectors that almighty mining will continue to threaten, unless properly regulated and controlled.
For the rest of this opinion column: https://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/island-voices-we-need-to-get-tougher-on-the-mining-industry-1.23658366