MLI’s managing director Brian Lee Crowley was featured in an iPolitics article by Jason Munson entitled “Crossroad Policy: The Canadian mining industry in 2014”. This article sets out to explore some of the key issues facing minters today by bringing them to three experts in the sector.
Guy Freedman, founding partner and president of the First People’s Group
Brian Lee Crowley, in the midst of research the intersection of aboriginal issues and Canada’s resource sector
Lalith Gunaratne, owner of Sage Ontario for Mindful Leadership
These three opinions will give the reader a quick snap-shot of some policy issues that will drive the discussion in Toronto’s Prospector and Developers Association of Canada’s Conference which takes place this week.
We have captured Brian Lee Crowley’s opinions below.
Ring of Fire: What’s the most important thing for governments to do?
“The best place in the whole country is probably in the northern territories. The worst is the provincial north band that spans north of BC to Ontario. These provinces are too focused on the people living in the south, and they don’t get the policy attention, energy and mindshare from provincial decision makers that they might get… Provincial governments want it to be a Federal responsibility, and therefore a policy vacuum is created in northern provincial regions. This is a great example of where both Federal and provincial governments have dropped the ball.”
First Nations: What should be done about improving aboriginal involvement in the resource sector?
“The place to start…is with contracts to supply services to the projects. The companies say we will give aboriginal people a first chance at these contractual jobs, they have to meet the going rate, and have to meet their contractual agreement. This is more successful than pulling aboriginal people into high-skilled jobs they aren’t ready for.”
Going it Alone: Should Canada forge ahead with resource revenue transparency rules if other developed countries decide not it?
“Our Natural resources endowment is nested inside the endowment of institution that Canada is almost unique amongst its western modern countries… Canada has learned a lot of lessons of how governments need to behave, in order to see natural resource development in an honest, open, sustainable, responsible way. If we can export that knowledge to other countries, we will be doing them a terrific service.”
Development: Do partnership between development NGOs and mining companies work?
“If we can marry the responsible behavior of the vast majority of Canadian Natural Resource companies with the responsible behavior and interest of the best NGOs…this is a highly desirable thing…The issues arise for example when unreasonable NGOs…are using this as kind of a cloak. As long as we are reasonable…and we hold everybody to a high standard of accountability and responsibility, I think it can be a good thing.”
Abroad: Can Canada promote host country resource governance without appearing to do so in its own self-interest?
“We have to keep the pressure on to move the goalposts as much as we can on transparency and accountability, without being so demanding of ourselves that we damage ourselves and don’t raise the standards in the third world but simply allow our competitors to take the opportunities that Canadians might have been able to develop.”