Controversy is its name–I refer to Bill C-38 that is in the process of passing through the Canadian Parliament. Here is a brief description of an omnibus juggernaut:
Bill C-38 is a 425 page omnibus bill that includes proposals to: reform the employment insurance system, overhaul environmental protection and fisheries laws, fast track the environmental assessment process for natural resource development projects, and raise the eligibility age for old age security.
The mining industry supports the bill; it may make it easier to open new mines; and shorten the scandalously long time it now takes for federal and provincial review of projects to mine. Some projects have taken five to six years to get approved. That is longer than it took to fight World War II. And the issues are no where near as portentous—the delay simply reflects obstruction by anti-mining folk who live of other resources not available to the rest of us. Although some virulent anti-mining advocates I know got their money from spouses working in the mining industry. Maybe they just hate ex-spouses, not mining per se.
If a mine is bad, it should not proceed. But that issue should be put to bed fast—all the better to limit unnecessary investment and shareholder pain. Imagine owning shares in Pebble Mine right now and hoping to fund retirement therefrom.
Next Bill C-38 would stop folk who work in Fort McMurray in the summer and then claim unemployment benefits in winter when it is indeed cold and hard to work there. Better to sit and enjoy the warmth of a beer in an eastern pub on reduced income than to fight minus forty in Alberta. So says the bill—although Mulcair will demure as will the folk on the oil sands mines who bragged to me about this smart practice.
As for raising the age for old-age security? What can I say other than that I work with many in mining who are well over 65. They still enjoy it; they still contribute; and they earn plenty. It is what makes current mining great. Let the Chinese supercycle go on and on and let there be no bubbles bursting.
Afterall universal access to free medical services keeps us healthy and of working capacity. Let us return something to so great a system. Pity old American miners–they just have to fade into the mist of Republican politics.
Passage of Bill C-38 would draw a distinct line between Canadian and American politics, policies, and national attitudes & aspirations. It is strange to see a Canada more conservative and more rationale than south of the border where partisan scrapping stops all things supportive of mining, good health, and reasonable resource development.
To say nothing of gay marriage, abortion, brothels, polygamy, and assisted suicide. You do not have to be a social conservative to support mining.