Burying the Past, Exhuming It, Repeating
By Jeff Allen
Canada's history (and present state) as a place of mines and sawmills and boom-bust cycles has left a lot of pock marks across the landscape. Sometimes someone deals with them, sometimes nobody does.
Marathon, Ontario, has had a string of hazardous materials spilled/leaked/mishandled out of an abandoned sawmill over the last few years, on top of the already dirty history of operation. Said contamination blessed the surrounding area with everyone's favourite friends “Miss Mercury” and “Captain PCB”.
In May of this year, cleanup1 via sediment capping2 began in the Peninsula Harbour; a project being financed by more than one guilty party.3 If you believe the government drivel about its strong environmental values, you are probably thinking, “Hooray!” Slow down... According to a note on the government site, “The thin-layer cap will not limit future industrial development in Jellicoe Cove.”4 As part of the agreements, Tembec was given the right to sell the mill. While you wait for someone (possibly with “foreign money”) to make an offer, you can enjoy a new mine.5
An hour or so down Superior's shore, Terrace Bay's paper mill was sold to a, well, “foreign interest” in the form of an Indian (multinational) firm.6 Said “foreign interest” will now be converting the mill to produce rayon, and we will celebrate (a potential) 275 jobs. Will the new owners operate any more responsibly than the old ones did?7
Furthermore, why isn't Harper denouncing this “foreign money” and “foreign influence?” Ehhh, sorry for flogging that dead horse. (Possibly poisoned by Lake Superior?8)
I'll take a step back to mention that ¼ of Marathon's new mine appears to belong to Mitsubishi Corporation.9