The Trudeau years and mining – by Leonard Melman (Resource World – September 12, 2019)

The Canadian mining industry entered a new era on October 19, 2015 with the election of Justin Trudeau as Canada’s new Prime Minister. His Liberal Party gained a solid majority in the House of Commerce, thereby giving him a relatively free hand for the next four years.

His initial policy paper outlining his goals contained no specific statement on resource extraction industries, but rather concentrated on goals that might be regarded as ‘politically correct’ including support for abortion, women’s rights, Indigenous support, and support for efforts to control so-called global warming or climate change.

Judging by the TSX Venture Exchange Index, the mining world greeted Trudeau’s arrival with some optimism as the index rose from near 600 in late 2015 to around 820 in mid-2016, but the performance ever since has been mediocre and that index now stands below 600 as of September 2019. The number of junior miners has dropped during the Trudeau years.

One of the conundrums relating to Trudeau is that while declaring some support for the economic contribution from both mining and petroleum development, he staunchly supports two sources of many regulations which have impeded both those industrial sectors – namely support for Indigenous peoples and imposing controls to reduce environmental impacts.

Miners want to be good environmental stewards and Indigenous people to be treated fairly; however, they need clear and doable regulations that will work for everyone. These apparent contradictions became public when the Prime Minister was interviewed at the March 2019 PDAC Convention in Toronto and delivered a mixed message.

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