J. MacPhail: (Opposition Leader)(May 17, 2004)
I think the minister mistook me for David Anderson.
We were, though, in the 1930s and forties, price setters, and now in British Columbia we're price takers, not price makers. There was an example from the 1990s about mining, and it proves to be very insightful in relation to the growing economy. In June of '97 the Mount Polley mine was completed. Private sector investment–built, it took over 12 months and $115 million of investment. In September of 2001 the mine had to suspend operations because commodity prices had plummeted. Now those commodity prices are back, and hopefully this mine, which was built on time and under budget, will be put to useful production as well.
What does make me a little bit nervous — and it's only a cautionary note here — is that as we know full well the mining industry is about commodity prices. We have to be ever so cautious not to throw the baby out with the bathwater and have a zeal for cutting red tape that may impede proper environmental and regulatory oversight, and then somehow be charged with improper activity in those areas in the world market.
Certainly, a responsible, productive mining industry is a necessity for B.C. What we must do, though, is move forward to a modern, sustainable industry and not to the past where communities were devastated.
Highly likely, as Likely, British Columbia found out when the tailings pond broke because of the zeal for cutting red tape that did impede proper environmental and regulatory oversight......