Opinion: A strong mineral exploration and mining industry benefits all British Columbians

Spring has arrived, and a provincial election is just around the corner. Now is the time for British Columbians to think about how their next government will ensure the mineral exploration and mining industry can remain globally competitive and provide a stable, prosperous and sustainable future for every citizen of B.C.

With globally determined commodity prices improving, this is a critical time for the industry. As prices rebound, B.C. can capitalize on its opportunities and ensure that the industry remains competitive and attractive to investment. However, this will only happen — if government, industry, First Nations and communities continue to work together.

The mineral exploration and mining industry is an essential part of the economic and social fabric of the province, and a healthy, thriving, responsible industry benefits all British Columbians. Products mined right here in B.C. play a critical role in contributing to Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy — from the copper used in electric cars to the steel-making coal required to build public-transit infrastructure and wind turbines. In 2015, the industry contributed more than $7.78 billion to the provincial economy supporting 30,000 jobs in both rural and urban areas. These high-paying, family supporting jobs include 8,726 direct jobs in mining, 6,000 through mineral exploration and another 15,000 people are employed in trade occupations and science, technical, legal and financial professions that support communities across the province.

To continue being a major contributor to the socio-economic development of the province, a vibrant mineral-exploration and mining industry in B.C. depends on the ability to compete in a global market with other mining jurisdictions around the world. B.C. companies must both attract investment dollars and be operationally cost-competitive. Commodities explored for and mined locally, such as copper and steel-making coal, are sold at prices determined by international markets — we are price-takers, …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

Canada 150: Okanagan writer focuses on First Nations education

To mark Canada’s 150th birthday, we are counting down to Canada Day with profiles of 150 noteworthy British Columbians.

If anyone is deserving of the scholarly term “autochthonous” (something springing from the very ground where it is found), it’s this wise Okanagan elder, knowledge-keeper, writer, teacher, visual artist and activist for indigenous people’s rights. Jeannette Christine Armstrong is a powerful literary voice of conscience for her First Nation, for aboriginal peoples everywhere, for British Columbia and for Canada.

She was born on the Penticton Indian Reserve in 1948 and lives there still. It has been said by some that she was born “into the resistance,” a growing awareness of the importance of traditional culture when federal and provincial institutions sought to force assimilation of Canada’s First Nations by dismantling language, belief systems, ceremonies and traditional economies. Among her direct ancestors were Okanagan storytellers. Her parents encouraged that tradition. She grew up in her own language and got a traditional education from elders as well as a mainstream education that took her from a one-room school to a fine arts degree at the University of Victoria in 1978. Today, she’s fluent in both English and Okanagan.

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Perhaps most important, she returned to Penticton from university just as Okanagan leaders decided to make education a priority. They wanted a locally derived curriculum. She helped establish the En’owkin Centre on the Penticton Reserve. A locally run institution, it fuses First Nations knowledge systems with mainstream practice and functions as a post-secondary centre focusing on native cultural, educational, ecological and creative arts. It partners with the University of Victoria, the University of B.C. and other mainstream educational institutions. Among its objectives is to help adult learners obtain the skills they need to pursue higher education. But it seeks to frame …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun