Macdonald, Clovechok trade shots over Mount Polley mine report

NDP MLA Norm Macdonald and BC Liberal candidate Doug Clovechok trade shots over Mount Polley tailings pond breach report.

Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald’s recent MLA report on the Mount Polley tailings pond breach prompted a response from BC Liberal candidate Doug Clovechok and a rebuttal from Macdonald.

Here is the exchange of letters:

Editor,

It would seem like NDP Norm Maconald is up to his regular antics yet again attempting to distract constituents with his noise of NDP misinformation. Macdonald’s recent claims that the failure at Mount Polley could have been predicted and that there were warning signs is completely untrue and are completely refuted by the conclusions found by an independent panel that investigated the incident. A panel comprised of three internationally recognized geotechnical experts.

Contrary to Macdonald’s contrary allegations, the Mount Polley tailings breech, as quoted directly from the panel report, was “a sudden failure without precursors.” Further and again from the report, “additional inspections would not have prevented the failure,” again refuting Macdonald’s claims.

Finally his allegations about the lack of government inspections is completely wrong as reported by the panel who indicate inspectors are “well qualified,” have “clear targets and schedules for annual inspections,” and are “amongst the best the panel has encountered among agencies with similar duties.”

The NDP misinformation begs an important question. Why does Mr. Macdonald go to such lengths to create his own facts? Could his reason be found in the panel’s conclusion which states: “The dominant contribution to the failure resides in its design. The design of the tailings storage facility did not take into account the complexity of the sub-glacial and pre-glacial geological environment.”

In addition, Macdonald knows that the failed design of the Mount Polley facility was approved and permitted in the 1990s — when the NDP was in government.

The panel has made comprehensive recommendations to ensure a similar failure doesn’t happen again and the BC Liberal government is moving to implement them and it does not stop there. Two additional government commissioned investigations are ongoing, one by the Chief Inspector of Mines and the other by the Conservation Officer Service.

When Mount Polley tailings facility breeched, Mr. Macdonald, without any supporting evidence and in typical knee jerk fashion, unjustly called for the resignation of the Energy and Mines Minister. Now that the evidence is in, the Ministry has been exonerated and given his propensity to offer constituents misinformation we say to him using his own words; Mr. Macdonalddo the honorable thing and resign”.

Doug Clovechok

BC Liberal candidate, Columbia River-Revelstoke

***

Editor,

Facts? Or simply saying what Bill Bennett tells you to say?

What does a government do when disaster happens on its watch, and absolutely everyone can see that it is entirely the responsibility of government and the Minister in charge? Hold a press conference, refuse to allow journalists to actually see the report that is the subject of the announcement, and then lie about its real contents.

And when the opposition calls out the government for its failure and deception, get failed BC Liberal candidates to pose as regular citizens with letters to the editor written by BC Liberal hacks and Bill Bennett apologists.

What really happened at Mt. Polley? Who is really to blame? What does the report released on January 30, 2015 really say?

Following the official press conference where no one was allowed to see the document that was being presented, Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun got the full report and actually read it.

And here’s Palmer’s analysis: preceding the disaster, industry and the Mines ministry were playing a ‘dangerous game’.

Palmer clearly states, “…the engineering panel (that wrote the report that Mr. Clovechok didn’t read but is happy to comment on) had plenty to say about the sorry state of affairs that preceded the dam failure last August.”

Palmer continues, “Mount Polley was not a story of one flaw that went undetected for years with nothing to be done about it. Rather, it was characterized by a pattern of dubious behaviour, margins of safety that skirted the edge of the cliff, little thought of worst-case scenarios, all factors in a disaster waiting to happen.”

And all this happened on Minister of Mines Bill Bennett’s watch. So on this issue, I think British Columbians would be better off believing the journalist that did his job on this file, rather than Mr. Clovechok who clearly does not know what he’s talking about.

Norm Macdonald, MLA

Columbia River–Revelstoke

 

 

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