(Photo credit: Vancouver Sun)
By David P. Ball
As authorities scramble to clean up one of Canada’s worst industrial disasters following the Mount Polley mine breach, cuts to mine and dam inspections since 2001 combined with Imperial Metals Corporation’s at least $233,710 in BC Liberal Party donations since 2003 is adding insult to injury for some.
The campaign donations are slightly less than the $300,000 infines the B.C. government has threatened the company with if it fails to comply with conditions for cleaning up the breach, which caused 10 million cubic metres of water and five million cubic metres of tailing solids to spill into the Cariboo region watershed on Monday.
“Companies that have given large donations to the BC Liberals walk away with nothing more than slaps on the wrist for various regulatory infractions,” said Dermod Travis, executive director of IntegrityBC, a nonpartisan transparency watchdog.
“There is an ongoing suspicion from the public that these donations aren’t being made by companies that just want to be good corporate citizens, but that they want to ensure their voice is heard in the regulatory process… it adds to that cynicism.”
Despite three sets of downstream water samples announced Thursday, the government has not yet released toxicity samples of sediments and solids that spilled from a tailings dam, which held hundreds of tonnes of arsenic, mercury, lead and cobalt. To read the complete story, click here.