Media Statement, May 3rd, 2016
Andrew Weaver responds to Auditor General’s Report on Compliance & Enforcement of the Mining Sector
For Immediate Release
Victoria B.C. – Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head and Leader of the BC Green Party made the following statement in response to the release of the Office of the Auditor General audit report “An Audit of Compliance & Enforcement of the Mining Sector”:
Professional Reliance and Captured Regulator:
“This report provides further evidence that the government has got the balance wrong between protecting the interests of British Columbians and advancing the interests of corporations,” said Weaver. “That the Auditor General would suggest that a Ministry within the government is at risk of regulatory capture is very concerning.”
“It’s hypocritical and frankly paradoxical for the government to dismiss the Auditor General’s concerns that we have become too reliant on experts hired by companies to provide regulatory oversight. On the one hand the government says that qualified professionals have played a role in mining for decades; on the other hand the government also notes that the status quo cannot continue,” said Weaver. “Instead of trying to have it both ways they should be asking the very serious question of whether sufficiently independent reviews, with the resources to the job correctly, are actually taking place. I would suggest they are not.”
The report also noted issues regarding permitting and enforcement under the Ministry of Environment including lack of coordination between environment and mine compliance officials, and ‘enforceable’ language in actual permits.
“This report emphasizes the need for a review of both Ministry of Energy and Mines and Ministry of Environment permitting processes and enforcement measures.” said Weaver “There is a huge gap in public trust between government and permit holders as is highlighted now in the on-going dispute over the Shawnigan Lake contaminated soil dump site. This issue has forced residents and local governments to use the court system to get results from government. It is imperative that the Auditor General’s recommendations are adopted immediately to begin to repair this relationship.”
Mat Wright – Press Secretary Andrew Weaver MLA
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