Skip to main content

Wanipigow Sand Extraction Project - construction proceeding before environmental license is provided

On Monday March 11, I asked in Question Period about the development of the Silica Sand Mine near Hollow Water First Nation.  We have heard from several sources that construction is proceeding at the mine site even though the environmental review and the indigenous consultations have not been completed.  

Development of Silica Sand Mine - Health and Environmental Concerns

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights):
      There are issues which need to be addressed with the Wanipigow sand extraction project. The government's own departments' comments on the proposal put forward by Canadian Premium Sands say there are very concerning health issues related to air quality, as silica dust is well known to cause adverse health effects, including acute and chronic silicosis. There are also concerns about groundwater impact, of the handling of tailings and about the lack of a remediation plan when the mine closes.
      When will these critical issues be addressed?

Hon. Blaine Pedersen (Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade): Well, Madam Speaker, I've got a really good MP, so there's no need for me to run federally.
      In regards to Canadian Premium Sand and their application, it's getting an envi­ronmental review or having an environmental review done right now. Section 35 consultations are going on.
      But I really wonder why this–when Canadian Premium Sand first brought their proposal forward, they said they could hire 150 local people. To date, they've got 250 applications in.
      Why is this member against local economic development?

Madam Speaker: The honourable member for River Heights, on a final supplementary.

Mineral and Timber Extraction - Environmental Oversight

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, the forestry and peatlands branch of Manitoba's Sustainable Development Department says any further development requiring timber removal (which apparently is ongoing) that is beyond the exploration that has already occurred should be put on hold until an environmental act licence and indigenous consultation are completed and approved.
      In 2013, under the NDP, a whole mine was built before the environmental licence was issued. Is the Pallister government now joining the NDP in his approach? Is the Pallister government going to be as bad at handling environmental issues as the NDP was?

Hon. Rochelle Squires (Minister of Sustainable Development): Well, thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I'm going to try to explain the process for the member's benefit, but, unfortunately, I cannot make him understand the process. So let's walk through this.
      The company comes to us and they apply for a licence. And that is what we're doing. During this process, we hear from a lot of user groups of the resources, including folks in my own department, and we hear their feedback and we work through all the issues before issuing a licence for the company to operate.
      We are also doing this in conjunction with a section 35 consultation that is occurring. And those things have to have to happen before the licence is issued.
      We're following the process and we're working towards environmental sustainability as these projects move forward. [But for the process to have any credibility, construction should not be occurring before the permit is issued.  The way the Pallister government is proceeding is a problem in that it is letting construction occur before the environmental review and indigenous consultations are completed.]


Popular posts from this blog

Dougald Lamont speaks at Meth Forum last night to present positive ideas to address the epidemic, while exposing the lack of action by the Pallister Conservatives

Last night at the Notre Dame Recreation Centre in St. Boniface, at an Election Forum on the Meth Crisis in Manitoba, Dougald Lamont spoke eloquently about the severity of the meth epidemic and described the Liberal plan to address it.  The Liberal Plan will make sure that there is a single province-wide phone number for people, or friends of people, who need help dealing with meth to call (as there is in Alberta) and that there will be rapid access to a seamless series of steps - stabilization, detoxification, treatment, extended supportive housing etc so that people with meth addiction can be helped well and effectively and so that they can rebuild their lives.  The Liberal meth plan will be helped by our approach to mental health (putting psychological therapies under medicare), and to poverty (providing better support).  It will also be helped by our vigorous efforts to help young people understand the problems with meth in our education system and to provide alternative positive

Manitoba Liberal accomplishments

  Examples of Manitoba Liberal accomplishments in the last three years Ensured that 2,000 Manitoba fishers were able to earn a living in 2020   (To see the full story click on this link ). Introduced a bill that includes retired teachers on the Pension Investment Board which governs their pension investments. Introduced amendments to ensure school aged children are included in childcare and early childhood education plans moving forward. Called for improvements in the management of the COVID pandemic: ·          We called for attention to personal care homes even before there was a single case in a personal care home. ·            We called for a rapid response team to address outbreaks in personal care homes months before the PCs acted.  ·          We called for a science-based approach to preparing schools to   improve ventilation and humidity long before the PCs acted. Helped hundreds of individuals with issues during the pandemic including those on social assistance

The Indigenous Science Conference in Winnipeg June 14-16

  June 14 to 16, I spent three days at the Turtle Island Indigenous Science Conference.  It was very worthwhile.   Speaker after speaker talked of the benefits of using both western or mainstream science and Indigenous science.  There is much we can learn from both approaches.   With me above is Myrle Ballard, one of the principal organizers of the conference.  Myrle Ballard, from Lake St. Martin in Manitoba, worked closely with Roger Dube a professor emeritus at Rochester Institute of Technology, and many others to make this conference, the first of its kind, a success.  As Roger Dube, Mohawk and Abenaki, a physicist, commented "My feeling is that the fusion of traditional ecological knowledge and Western science methodology should rapidly lead the researchers to much more holistic solutions to problems."   Dr. Myrle Ballard was the first person from her community to get a PhD.  She is currently a professor at the University of Manitoba and the Director of Indigenous Science