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UBCIC Calls for Resignation of Minister of State for Mining Randy Hawes

by Union of BC Indian Chiefs

Objection to Comments by Minister of State for Mining

   Dear Premier Campbell,

   We are writing to strongly object to the unwarranted and insulting comments by the BC Minister of State for Mining Randy Hawes on multiple occasions, which have only served to reiterate and promote racist stereotypes about First Nations culture. By Resolution 2010-40, the Union of BC Chiefs-in-Assembly call upon you to accept the resignation of Junior Minister Hawes.

   The Takla Lake First Nation and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard law jointly produced a study titled "Bearing the Burden: the Effects of Mining on First Nations in British Columbia." Rather than address the serious recommendations made in the report, Junior Minister Hawes called the report "hogwash" and "completely flawed" and suggested Harvard "look in its own backyard or concentrate on places with more egregious offences against indigenous people." Minister Hawes' comments were shockingly offensive, not supported and clearly historically inaccurate, given the substantial hardship that Indigenous peoples have endured due to federal and provincial legislation and policy.

   We were absolutely appalled that Junior Minister Hawes has also gone on record saying "some First nations reject mining for a more traditional lifestyle- those ways are linked to lower birth weights, higher birth rate deaths and lower life spans. Improving these outcomes requires sharing the wealth and jobs that come from mining." We understand he refused to apologize for these unsupported and ignorant comments.

   Junior Minister Hawes has boldly stated support for Taseko Mine's proposed Prosperity Mine and extremely controversial efforts to replace the Xeni Gwet'in and the Tsilhqot'in Nation's Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) and surrounding area with a massive open pit mine and tailings pond, and detrimentally impact nearby Esketemc territory as well. He has publicly criticized the Tsilhqot'in, who he said are "putting a lake before their kids." Again, this comment is insulting, unwarranted, inaccurate, and fails to consider listening to what First Nations want.

   In 2005, you and the Province of BC committed to a government-to-government New Relationship with First Nations in BC based on respect, recognition, and accommodation of Aboriginal Title and Rights. In the spirit of the New Relationship, we would like to meet with you in order to discuss the seriousness of Minister Hawes' comments and review the absolute need for mining reform in British Columbia beginning with a real review of the Harvard study recommendations.

   On behalf of the UNION OF BC INDIAN CHIEFS

   Grand Chief Stewart Phillip


   Chief William Charlie


   Chief Bob Chamberlin



   Minister of State for Mining Randy Hawes

   First Nations Summit Task Group

   BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Wilson-Raybould

   Takla Lake First Nation

   UBCIC Chiefs Council

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Prosperity Mines

It is outrageous that this minister, and this government insist that this mine will be of long term benefit to first nations and, further, that such ignorant remarks as those Mr. Hawes should go unchecked.

His remarks should be surprising but it would appear that any citizen or group that might have different values about the quality of their life if it opposes the unchecked environmental insults  of these juggernaut industries is fair game for such remarks.

It is so smug for such politicians to sit in offices and think they might know better than the people who choose such different lives and values.

Prosperity Mines

The previous commentator's statement about "different values about the quality of their life" is demonstrably false and clearly based on his own ignorance and bias.

Factors such as low birth weight, low income and poor living conditions are factors which can be objectively measured. These are not subjective issues regarding a way of life or an individual's personal beliefs.

It is exceedingly arrogant for certain self-aggrandizing "leaders" of the First Nations to hold back an entire people based on their own desire to propagate a culture of victimhood.


well how many of the young native population want and need this mine to support their families given the tough economic conditions in the area? Id like to hear from all of them and not just what the leaders and their lawyers have to say.



well how many of the younger

well how many of the younger native population need and want this mine to go through so they can support their families?  all I hear is the leaders opinions but what about the men that need a steady income due to the recent economic tsunames that hit the area?

Prosperity Mines

we can do better than a few jobs for a few years as OUR resources are ripped and then shipped to China for processing...we are not even smart enough to build a refinery if that were really the aim, because that would provide jobs.

Prosperity mine approval

The comments of the Chiefs Union are absurd by the most generous criteria .

The draining of the small shallow pothole to be used as a storage for rock tailings is of course technically - environmental damage , but is only a tiny flyspeck of land in the vastness of BC with its countless lakes

       The total value of Prosperity is immensly  greater , ranging into billions of dollars,yielding long term economic benefits to all  parties involved, including  the FN  

    Prosperity is located on crown land ....The right of the FN to fish and hunt  does notconstitute deeded ownership .

     Most importantly  ,  an approval  of Prosperity would send a favorable signal to the global financial investment  community , an important factor in the future economic development of all Canada .

    The demands of the FN chiefs have been given due consideration , but the interests of the entire nation cannot reasonably be subordinated  to those of a small minority

prosperity mines and this wealth and signal of conficence

I am a person who believes in the open market but this global industrial  financial community has led us directly to this economic and environmental abyss that we now stare was not you and me that made these outrageous investments based on projected possible future profits...but it always has been and always will be you and me that pay for the collapses and bailouts, and it will always be you and me that pay to clean up the mess once the profits are gone and, lest we forget, most of those profits generally are repatriated to the home of lowest or zero tax so, once again it lill be just you and me and our children and our children's children that pay for this global financial community...I no longer have any faith in this global financial community, never mind confidence.

Aboriginal title exists

This small shallow pothole you refer to is one of the top 10 catch and release fishing locations in BC, it was also deemed by Tourism BC to be beautiful enough to grace the pages of some of their promotional material.  Most importantly it has given life to the Tsilhqot’in people since time immemorial.  

The billions of dollars that Taseko is after will be long gone in 20 or so odd years and all that the Tsilhqot’in will be left with is a hole in the ground.  What about the next 7 generations? And what about the 7 after that?  

Crown land?  That very idea is laughable in BC.  The entire province is unceded, unconquered territory and this particular area belongs to the Tsilhqot’in.

By "the interests of an entire nation" I am assuming that you mean Canada.  Well the Tsilhqot’in are also a nation...the First Nation, in fact, and Canada's interests CAN be subordinated by their interests. It is enshrined even in the white man's own constitution.

Should Harper choose to ignore that there will be conflict.

FN ....rights ?

When the overwhelming majority of  the productive citizens run out of patience with the endless nonsense and obstructionism of a small majority that they subsidizing with their tax payments - The wind will quickly be out of the FN sails ........The scenario of 97% of any national population being held hostage by a 3% minority of mendicants is not indefinitely sustainable ......The generosity and patience of the Canadian people is the best on this planet....but it is not inexaustable ..........The wisest course of action for the FN ?...go with the flow! enjoy the cornucopia of largesse and benefits that only Canada provides them..,.They already do not enjoy universal sympathy ......Throughout history any minority that has  become recognized  as a nuisance - has suffered terribly at some point .....If any theoreticians are convinced that "this is different"....I wish them luck ! The notion that the FN "own" nearly all of Canada will not prevail...The status of the FN will be normalized in the future ,hopefully as painlessly as possible they are defined to be equal  Canadian citizens , but not "more equal".....Lest we forget - PM Harper indeed represents the best interests of all citizens and will not be intimidated .   " Conflict " of opinion - no problem .

Violent obstruction ? that would be handled very efficiently by the RCMP.Canada is not - and never will be an anarchy 

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