LETTER – Federal environment minister should visit Ajax site before decision

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna. (Image:

July 18, 2017

Dear Kamloops Deputy Mayor Arjun Singh:

Thank you for your clear point form disclosure of your “against” opinion on the Ajax Mine Project.

I am struck how your professional life in communications and deliberation has come full circle in your role as our Deputy Mayor.  You handled the June SLR Town Hall meeting with a combination of humour, firmness, and grace.  Yesterday you showed these same attributes during the Council Meeting I attended.

But what struck me most was the detail to which you outlined your reasons for your decision-making, and how you diplomatically balanced this decision with your understanding of the “good people” and the arguments on both sides of the fence, as it were.

I write today to suggest that you and your colleagues consider using your written 5 point rationale for your decision as a framework for the letter City Council crafts to higher levels of government.

Will the written decision comments read by you, Councillor Dudy, and Councillor Wallace be officially tabled/posted as part of the July 17, 2017 meeting minutes?

Please clarify – I might have misunderstood Councillor Wallace – Did she indicate that her discussions with Kamloops seniors asking her to approve the mine so that they can have lower taxes, as part of her decision-making?  It is my understanding that the City of Kamloops is not entitled to any Industrial Tax Benefits from the Ajax Mine Project since it is located outside of Kamloops city limits.

In terms of balancing the economic arguments in support of this mining project, there wasn’t analysis of the potential economic losses to Kamloops if small business owners who employ others (e.g. physicians, dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, graphic designers, etc…) chose to move to another community.

Finally, I formally ask that Kamloops City Council officially request that the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, visit Kamloops as part of her final deliberations on the Ajax Mine Project.  Fully informed consent and decision-making are themes that run through my professional life as a neurologist and through my correspondence with others pertaining to this mine application.

To be fully informed, I think that Minister McKenna must “Walk the Land” and meet face-to-face with Kamloops City Council, the SSN, and a collection of representatives of the supportive and opposing groups.  To make an arms-length decision from her office in Ottawa would be akin to a neurologist not looking at the MRI films of a patient’s brain oneself, but relying on the written report by the radiologist only, before coming to a decision as to whether the patient has multiple sclerosis.

Such a decision is life-changing with social, occupational, and treatment implications for the patient.  Similarly, the decision by Minister McKenna on the Ajax Mine Project will be life changing for those who call the Kamloops region HOME.  Perhaps this visit request could be made during the formal Public Comment Period anticipated for later this summer.  By then, the details of the information packages that will be forwarded by the BC EAO and CEAA to the Ministers will be better known.


Dr. Jennifer L. Takahashi, MD FRCPC

About Mel Rothenburger (5433 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on LETTER – Federal environment minister should visit Ajax site before decision

  1. Helen Van Dyck // July 21, 2017 at 9:25 PM // Reply

    Are you taking on new patients? People in Kamloops want to know.

  2. R A George // July 20, 2017 at 9:22 AM // Reply

    You are a very articulate lady but check out the vote.We don’t want the mine. We being over 90 percent. The whole thing will eventually prove to be a gigantic waste of everyones time.It’s past time for Monsieur what’s his name,the ex cop to pack his bags and head back where he originally came from.

  3. tony brumell // July 19, 2017 at 11:20 AM // Reply

    Wow!! I don’t know what to say.(ME?? at a loss for words??)You hit the nail on the head.Thank you Jennifer.With my background and over forty tours and 400 people who have taken them I wish to offer my tour to minister McKenna.I have taken many political folk on tour.Including our new minister of Health.(the honourable Robb Fleming and past minister Mr. Todd Stone and many councilors and candidates, and representatives of the SSN.
    I have never had a complaint.Even when some tours lasted six hours..
    I guess I wasn’t really at a loss for words.EH? I am at your beck and call.

  4. ajaxtoobigtooclose // July 19, 2017 at 9:55 AM // Reply

    Thank you Dr. Takahashi, excellent letter, and points very well made as usual.

  5. A good point about small business. Yes, the city of Kamloops could have all sorts of medical professionals working here in Kamloops However, on the other hand, small business could decide to move on to other communities that are business friendly, which of course could lead fewer jobs being available to the community of Kamloops. But I guess on the other hand, business is not important and Kamloops needs to be a sedated small city. Lastly, the city does not want the mine project on our borders or in the area, so then we should not want any money from KGHM.

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