Jim Tredger pays tribute to Mining and Geology Week

On Thursday, May 7th, Yukon NDP MLA Jim Tredger gave the following speech in the Yukon Legislative Assembly:

I am pleased to rise on behalf of the Yukon NDP caucus to pay tribute to Yukon Mining and Geology Week. I would like to begin by saying thank you to the mining industry and to all those who work in the industry for their many contributions. You have made Yukon a better place.

Yesterday I listened to a presenter, Stewart Muir, talk about negative perceptions held toward the mining industry, and I have to say that may be true in southern B.C., but that certainly has not been my experience in the Yukon. Yukon citizens support mining in the Yukon. Yukon First Nations support mining in the Yukon. The Yukon NDP supports mining in the Yukon. Whether it is around our caucus table, in communities that I represent or in discussions with First Nation governments, Yukon people recognize the important contributions that the mining industry has and continues to make to our economy and, perhaps most importantly, to our quality of life. This is a clear recognition of that value.

Mining has long been one of the mainstays of Yukon’s economy, and it will continue to fulfill that role. The discussions are not about whether we should have mining or not; the discussions are around how Yukon can work with the industry to build a sustainable and thriving mining industry. It is too simplistic to be pro-mining or anti-mining — what matters is the evolution of mining.

I must commend the various companies and individuals who I have met and worked with — those who have worked in our communities and those who have brought their companies to the Yukon and have become part of the Yukon. They have become Yukon community members.

I would like to relate a few stories. This is certainly not comprehensive and doesn’t include them all, but is a smattering of what I have noticed in my communities. Victoria Gold is a contributing member to the Silver Trail Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Association. They are pitching in and helping wherever and however — helping to build a booth, sharing ideas, working with community members to build community. Kaminak Gold Corporation is working with Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in citizens in training, researching and learning together, developing a mine in traditional territory and becoming part of the community.

These stories are not uncommon. They are part of our fabric, part of our communities. Whether it is Alexco working on Signpost and Duncan Creek roads near Keno, Capstone funding a daycare or providing scholarships to Eliza Van Bibber School students, Casino putting on a barbeque in support of local events, companies are coming to Yukon to work with Yukon and have become an integral part of our Yukon community.

To those of you in the industry, if you are listening: thank you. You are wonderful ambassadors for your industry in the Yukon. I would also like to salute the placer miners — community members. I’ve shared time with them. They live,work and grow in our communities. They are our hockey coaches; they work on our school councils; they are leaders in our towns and our communities. I would also like to acknowledge those geologists and prospectors who risk much and spend long, hard summers exploring new areas for development.

The Yukon NDP and Yukon citizens welcome mining and are working toward solutions that are economically viable for industry and for Yukon, ensuring that Yukoners derive the best economic benefit possible from the mines. We welcome the jobs, the training, the development of First Nations, and the opportunities for local suppliers. These are what mining brings to our communities.

We work with the industry and with citizens to reflect upon and respect the social values of Yukon people and our communities, and work toward regulation with concern that any economic activity by the current generation must meet high environmental standards and must not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs and goals.

We have no reason for thinking that the present and future mines will not live up to their environmental responsibilities. We expect that they will and that the government will make sure that they do. It’s our solemn obligation to future generations.

Mining companies have stepped up. They have formed respectful relationships with Yukon citizens, Yukon government and First Nation governments. They have formed relationships and have become neighbours. Now is a time for leadership. It is important that we, as legislators, take this opportunity to work closely, guided by respect and co-management obligations with First Nation governments and the federal government, to ensure that the promise of our natural resources, the certainty and promise of the Umbrella Final Agreement, and the potential for Yukon people are realized. Now is the time.

It is my hope, and the hope of my NDP colleagues, that mining in Yukon will continue as a productive, safe and environmentally responsible industry for a good many years to come. The NDP commits to working with First Nation governments, Yukon citizens — especially those in our communities — and industry to build a viable and lasting industry.

In closing, I would like to recognize those public servants involved in mining for supporting the mining industry and for highlighting and celebrating the importance of mining in Yukon.

I would especially like to note the contributions of the Yukon Geological Survey for their leadership and acknowledge the respect they have gained throughout the world for their innovations, discoveries and the sharing of information.

I would also like to recognize and acknowledge the staff of Compliance Monitoring and Inspections at Energy, Mines and Resources. They play a challenging and critical role for both industry and the people of Yukon.

To the industry and all those involved: thank you.

To all Yukoners — there are a number of activities focused on mining and geology this week. Get out and enjoy. To any students listening — there are a great many careers in mining. Check them out.