How the Grinch stole Christmas

Elizabeth May
I am still in shock that the Nova Scotia Minister of Environment has refused to provide an extension for public comments on the Focus Report for a proposed open pit gold mine in Moose River, Nova Scotia. I do not know how many Nova Scotians are spending right up to Christmas Eve as I am – trying to finish a reply to the over 800 pages of material filed by the proponent. Believe it or not, public comments are due Christmas Eve. The minister’s response to letters asking for an extension was that it would be unfair to the proponent! One must be fair. It is totally fair and neutral to expect volunteers and citizen groups to review vast amounts of technical material that was only made available last month, and provide comments by December 24th. The other devious aspect of the proponent’s timing in dropping the report so that the public comment period ends on Christmas Eve, is that the government’s required time to review public comments and the report and provide a report and recommendations to the minister is 25 days. So the civil service’s available time is (presumably shortened) by Christmas and New Year’s breaks. Only once before have I been up against a Christmas deadline for reply to an environmentally damaging project, development of in-shore oil and gas. It too was a decision of a Nova Scotia government agency to set the deadline a few days before Christmas. What is it about this province that fails to understand the inherent unfairness of such a tactic? So, apologies to friends and family. I will get around to sending Christmas cards and packages once I finish the response of the Green Party to the proposed gold mine, right next to the proposed Ship Harbour Long Lake protected area, in an area already poisoned and contaminated by historic mining. I would love to tell you more about the project and its unsustainability, but the clock is ticking. Best wishes for the season. And thank goodness for groups like the Eastern Shore Forest Watch and Ecology Action Centre and all their volunteers who share with me the sense of duty over anger. Update: To view our response, please click here.