Extraordinary General Meeting
after the Sunday service
Proposed Mineral Tenure Act Resolution
Be it resolved that the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Kamloops support the Union of BC Municipalities’ Resolution B80, “Modernize the Mineral Tenure Act”, by writing letters to our MLAs, Todd Stone, Terry Lake, and Jackie Tegart, and to Hon. Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development, and Hon. Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines, asking them to support the resolution and send it to the legislature for amendment in the nearest possible future.
How many of you are aware that earlier this year a mineral claim was staked within the city? On May 18, Mineral Tenure Claim #1019608 was staked in lower Aberdeen. It is 20.49 ha in size and is approximately centered in the Howe Road playground/dog-walking park at the intersection of Howe Road and Pacific Way. It extends across developed and undeveloped land, with one of the boundaries running beneath Kamloops Seniors’ Village. Was the City of Kamloops consulted? Should the City of Kamloops have been consulted? Not according to the present BC Mineral Tenure Act.
The call to review BC’s Mineral Tenure Act originally came from Tofino mayor, Josie Osborne, in her compelling letter to the Times Colonist on April 12, 2013. Following her lead, the Union of BC Municipalities voted on September 19 to support a resolution calling on the provincial government to modernize the Mineral Tenure Act.
Here is the Resolution B80:
MINERAL TENURE ACT MODERNIZATION
WHEREAS British Columbia’s Mineral Tenure Act has remained substantially unchanged since the 1800’s and is not suited to our modern day land base and the demands of legitimate competing interests and values; the present Mineral Tenure Act gives no weight to other economic activities, current or future, in areas affected by mining claims including tourism, forestry and farming.
AND WHEREAS local governments and First Nations deserve greater latitude to shape their economic development paths and protect the full range of their residents’ interests; a modern Mineral Tenure Act could ensure adequate regional planning would take place, recognizing vital water, agricultural and other resources on which all communities depend;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of BC Municipalities request that the Province of British Columbia undertake a broad-based public engagement process similar to that being used to amend BC’s Water Act and fairly engage First Nations and local governments to determine how best to modernize the Mineral Tenure Act and related legislation in a way that ensures the full range of interests – including social, cultural, ecological and economic – are given fair consideration on BC’s land base.
BC's Mineral Tenure Act was amended in 2005 and in 2012. A close examination of the Act, however, reveals that in spite of these amendments, there is nowhere in the Act which requires prior approval from any local community within a certain radius of a proposed claim, before a mineral claim is registered.
As we are experiencing with the proposed Ajax mine, once a mineral claim holder decides to develop a claim, there is a lengthy environmental assessment process. Yes, the community has input to the environmental assessment. But in the end, it is the BC Environmental Assessment Office which makes a final recommendation to the BC Minister of the Environment who then makes the decision on whether the project goes ahead or not.
Three other provinces, Ontario, Québec, and Alberta, have amended their mineral tenure/mining acts or are in the process of doing so. Bill 43 is the current effort in Quebec to see changes made to their Mining Act. The following amendment shows the kind of change that is needed in B.C.: “The bill amends the Act respecting land use planning and development to allow regional county municipalities to delimit any mining incompatible territory or any conditionally mining compatible territory in their land use and development plan”
Why should we, as Unitarians, support a public process to amend the Mineral Tenure Act ?
The present Mineral Tenure Act offends our principle, “the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large,” because it does not allow for input from communities potentially affected by mining development.
The present Mineral Tenure Act places a higher priority on industrial development than on the health of ecosystems, which offends our principle, “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are part”.
Whereas climate science informs us that we must keep our global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, and consider the safe level of CO2 to be not more than 350 parts per million, and yet the current government of Canada has deliberately diminished our reduction target and withdrawn altogether from the Kyoto Accord,
Whereas the “ClimateFast” (www.climatefast.ca) movement and its three goals have been endorsed by the Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice,
*End fossil fuel subsidies.
*Put a price on carbon .
*Support the development of a renewable energy plan for Canada.
Be it resolved, that the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Kamloops endorse the “Climatefast” movement, and take concrete measures to encourage its members to participate in it.
End all subsidies to coal, oil, and gas companies
“Did you know that our government spends money subsidizing fossil fuel energy to keep prices artificially low? A new International Monetary Fund study uncovers just how much the Canadian subsidies are and urges our government to stop these market distortion practices....
What the general public is mostly unaware of is the prices we pay for energy – at the gas pump, our Hydro bill, our natural gas bill – are subsidized prices. The energy prices we consumers see are below market levels. Where does the government to get its money to subsidize your gas or Hydro or natural gas? Mostly from taxes – income taxes and consumption taxes. And who pays those taxes? That’s the taxpayers....
What is the real price of the energy we use? According to the IMF study, energy subsidies per person in Canada are $787 per year. Remember, this is on top of the payments we make at the gas pumps and through our Hydro and gas bills....
The IMF cites many down sides to putting so much public money into subsidies and keeping energy prices – at least the sticker prices – artificially low, not least of which is giving the false impression to the general public that fossil fuels are much cheaper than renewable energy. Subsidies distort resource allocation by encouraging excessive energy consumption, artificially promoting capital-intensive industries, reducing incentives for investment in renewable energy, and accelerating the depletion of natural resources.”*
“Fossil Fuel Subsidies Nearly $800 per Canadian, says the IMF”. Toronto Sustainability Speaker Series.
“The IMF estimates that removing these subsidies could lead to a 13% decline in CO2 emissions and generate positive spillover effects by reducing global energy demand”.
“Energy Subsidy Reform: Lessons and Implications.” The International Monetary Fund.
Put a price on carbon.
We need a price on carbon for the simple reason that activities that result in emissions don't bear their full cost. A carbon tax ensures that when people choose to use fossil fuels or engage in other activities that emit greenhouse gases, they see the full price. Without a carbon tax, people don't consider all of the costs of their activities when making choices, such as how much to drive, how big a house to buy and so forth. Without a tax, it is as if we subsidize pollution relative to its price in a complete market.
There are many reasons to put a price on carbon, the most important being that climate change is already costing society (through extreme weather events), and we need to take action to limit those costs.*
“Should There Be a Price on Carbon?” Wall Street Journal.
Develop a renewable energy plan for Canada.
There are two main reasons why renewable energy technologies offer an economic advantage:
(1) they are labor-intensive, so they generally create more jobs per dollar invested than conventional electricity generation technologies, and
(2) they use primarily indigenous resources, so most of the energy dollars can be kept at home.*
“Dollars from Sense: the Economic Benefits of Renewable Energy”. National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
following the Sunday service
Today is Rev. Wendy’s last Sunday service. Please join us in a farewell celebration and luncheon following the service, as we thank our minister for her many years of service to our fellowship.