Darrell Greer, 'Company offers brighter future, not land Armageddon'
Company offers brighter future, not land Armageddon
Kivalliq News - Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sometimes tough decisions need to be made.
Other times decisions are made to look tougher than they actually are, thanks to the spin put out by groups with a vested interest in the outcome.
So it is right now with the Baker Lake concerned citizens committee's attempts to block Areva Resources Canada Inc.'s development of a uranium mine about 80 kilometres west of Baker.
Some developments have been nothing short of incredulous, to say the least.
We all know the best way to attract a crowd in the Kivalliq, no matter what the subject, is to offer free stuff.
We also know opinions solicited in this manner are suspect at best.
So, the concerned citizens committee can honk its horn all it wants about 60 per cent of the people showing up to a public meeting submitting negative comments about uranium mining.
The majority of them - reportedly close to 70 people - likely had no inclination to voice an opinion at all until the Hamlet of Baker Lake provided the Hunters and Trappers Organization with $1,000 to help with the process of gathering public comments.
What an eloquent way of describing the purchase of prizes to buy opinions.
The makeup of the folks who showed up also constituted somewhat of a stacked deck, with many being hunters, fishers and elders.
Areva's proposal is being screened by the Nunavut Impact Review Board to decide whether it should be subject to a full environmental review.
Led by environmental activist Joan Scottie, the concerned citizens committee also wants an investigation into how the Nunavut Planning Commission decided Areva's proposal passed every stipulation in the Keewatin Regional Land Use Plan.
The committee says Areva's proposal should be proven to be approved by the people of the region.
Its suggestion to resolve the issue once and for all is to hold a plebiscite.
Those opposed to uranium mining also question why the Kivalliq Inuit Association and the Hamlet of Baker Lake - which both support the Areva proposal - should be looked upon as the voice of the people.
Well, that's why we vote for elected bodies to deal with such matters.
If you don't trust elected officials to deal with issues, and want plebiscites conducted on every matter that deals with public interest, why have elected representatives at all?
Much of the rhetoric being used by the committee in regards to tailings and contamination is decades old.
Yes, there was a time the word of a mining company wasn't worth much, but those days are gone because of severe restrictions, numerous review processes and site monitoring the companies must now adhere to.
Areva's proposal will help Baker evolve and prosper, if it ever reaches fruition.
Elders can pine for things to stay the same, and hunters and fishers can want their agendas followed, but that won't help young families own their own homes and become financially stable.
That comes with well paying, secure jobs with solid benefit packages and that's what Areva will be offering.
In fact, Areva is offering a brighter future in a monitored environment that respects the land and all those dependent upon it.