Liberals continue to cover up information about Mount Polley spill

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VICTORIA – The Liberal coverup of the details of the devastating Mount Polley tailings pond spill now includes refusing to give information to elected legislators.

“Bill Bennett and Christy Clark seemed to say the right things when they were up in Likely, but their continued coverup shows they’ll do whatever they want, including hiding information the public deserves to have,” said New Democrat spokesperson for mining Norm Macdonald.

“The premier has been saying we need to get to the bottom of what happened at Mount Polley; the mines minister and environment minister have both committed to be transparent, but their actions don’t match their words. When we asked for even the most basic information on the conduct of the investigation, Bill Bennett refused to tell us anything.”

Macdonald requested a briefing from the chief inspector of mines office and the chief conservation officer for himself and New Democrat spokesperson for the environment, Spencer Chandra Herbert, but were denied any meetings or information.

Macdonald said this is just the latest instance of the Liberal government withholding information about the Aug. 4 disaster at Mount Polley, in which a tailings pond breach spilled an estimated 25 million cubic metres of tailings and effluent into surrounding waterways.

“Minister Bennett said he would take personal responsibility if it was found his ministry was negligent,” said Macdonald. “Is that why the government is trying so hard to withhold basic information?

“They are fighting our freedom of information request for the mine inspection reports and a report about a significant crack in the dam from 2010 was simply stashed away in a library in Williams Lake; now they’re refusing to meet with elected representatives.

“It smells like a coverup.”

“British Columbians want to know what happened at this mine site and want some assurance that there are safeguards in place so other disasters won’t happen,” said Chandra Herbert. “The Liberals merely continue to put roadblocks in place to prevent the free flow of information.

“They’re hoping the people of B.C. will forget about this disaster and the negligence of the government that led to it.”