Today, provincial Liberal backbencher John Rustad rose in the house to refute New Democrat claims that commodity prices rather than provincial policy are responsible for the re-opening of the Mount Polley mine. His evidence: during a Friday ceremony marking that re-opening, Imperial Metals Corp. Pierre Lebel stated "much of the credit goes to a provincial government that has streamlined the permitting process and encouraged British Columbians to invest in mineral exploration by offering additional tax credits under the federal flow-through share financing program." High praise, indeed. But perhaps not surprising. Shortly after Mr. Rustad made that statement, The Times Colonist's Jeff Rud pointed out to press gallery colleagues that, last year, the Campbell administration forgave a $2,946,392.65 loan to Huckleberry Mines Ltd. which is co-owned by Imperial Metals. Government has previously defended that decision by explaining the mine would have closed without that write-off. The firm subsequently donated $8,340 to the Liberals during the recent election.
September 19, 2005