The Green Party of Canada acknowledges the vital importance of the mining industry. We support mining where it does no lasting harm to the environment and the ecosystems that living things rely on. Mining is necessary and mining can be destructive, but greener mining is possible. The Green Party of Canada believes it is possible to extract minerals for human use with minimal harm to the environment and other species.
The Green Party of Canada also recognizes that all the materials from which we create our human-lived environment and society are extracted from nature. Our homes, cooking pots, wind turbines, computers, iPhones, and schools depend on the products of mines. We can do a much better job of recycling and re-using. We recognize that to improve the quality of life of the majority of the people of the world, mining will be needed. The Green Party recognizes, however, that in using natural resources we compete with other creatures. We all need to remember that agriculture, building cities and homes, and transportation all alter the habitats of plants and animals and their food chains.
Mining is a significant component of the Canadian economy, especially in rural areas where it is often an important source of jobs. While mining contributes to local employment, it can sometimes leave behind residues, leaching ponds, polluting of the water table, and damaged roads due to heavy trucks (becoming a township, local taxpayer expense). New mines, even exploration, sometimes are a disincentive to other investments and land uses, since mining can compete with other land values. The Green Party of Canada is committed to minimizing these impacts.
Mining, like all businesses, should be subjected to full cost accounting. The Greens support triple bottom line analysis, measuring social, environmental, and economic costs and benefits. Of paramount concern is that nearby aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities share in planning and decision-making, and that local and regional employment and economic benefits are substantial and adequate. To minimize the local impact of mining, the Green Party would require that mining projects include detailed plans and effective measures to deal with any potential problems like acid mine drainage, and that the plans must be in place before active mining begins. The Green Party is committed to effective monitoring of the impacts of mining on ground water, agricultural lands, or air quality as wind carries pollutant loads to other provinces.
Because most mining produces materials that can be used and reused indefinitely, Green Party of Canada will actively support full recycling of metals and mineral products. The Greens will provide tax benefits to reward full recycling of metals, as recycling is often a more energy and cost-effective way to use metals than to mine virgin materials.
While the control of natural resources is allocated by our Constitution to provincial governments, the consequences of mining often encroach on areas of federal jurisdiction, like fisheries. This energy intensive industry contributes nearly twice as much to Canada’s GHG emissions as do all domestic flights in Canada. Some products, like asbestos and uranium, which are a serious danger to human health, should not be produced. (Chrysotile asbestos is a known carcinogen with no known safe threshold to avoid sickness. The European Union has banned importation of this mineral. Currently Canada exports 220,000 tonnes of chrysotile asbestos, mostly to developing countries that do not have the resources to handle it safely.)
Because of the impact on the climate, the Green Party of Canada believes that the global extraction and burning of fossil fuels must be greatly reduced, and most must be replaced by sustainable energy as soon as possible.
Green Party MPs will: