The week ended July 19, the 29th trading week of 2008, kicked off with a surprise announcement by the Ontario government that it would “protect” at least 225,000 sq. km, or roughly half of the province’s boreal forest.
The scope of the proposal is broad. It includes: banning economic activity within at least half the province’s boreal forest; holding meetings across the province with every conceivable stakeholder to come up with new land-use plans; giving local aboriginal communities veto power over proposed economic activities; revamping the way resource businesses are taxed, including more taxes going to local aboriginal communities; and building up bureaucracies to create and implement land-use plans.
The government also restated its intention to rewrite the province’s mining act before 2010, including changing the process for staking and exploration. It starts reviewing the act this August.
Given that you can’t trust anything Premier “I-won’t-cut-your-taxes-but- I-won’t-raise-them-either” McGuinty says, and that his professed environmentalism is driven by pure political expediency, figuring out what this latest proposal means for miners in Ontario is tricky.