The Ontario government says it will investigate the method it used to approve new mining permits, after receiving complaints from one community that the method was used in part to give former provincial Premier Dalton McGuinty an economic lifeline.
“We take allegations of malfeasance and mismanagement seriously. Our government has a strong, ongoing commitment to holding ourselves to the highest standards of accountability and openness. I expect all of our public institutions to do the same. If evidence of wrongdoing emerges, we will act swiftly,” said Premier Doug Ford.
The latest controversy involves a process to approve new mining permits at the Adani Project in the Galilee Basin, which includes Koolyanobbing in western Canada’s northwest.
The application was approved using a mapping method the Peace River Archdeacon said is dated, incomplete and inaccurate. Its use is also controversial because Adani officials have said it is a test to gauge the impact of mining on an aboriginal community.
The Archdeacon has said that the plan is irresponsible and in disregard for facts because both the land and people of Koolyanobbing are on the Petaquilla Indian Reserve.
In a letter to CNN, the chairperson of Ontario’s provincial mining board wrote that while the application meets the criteria, “[h]ere again, the Innu and others raised several issues with the plans.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Ford’s office told CNN “we are reviewing all of our processes and procedures” and are holding meetings with “ministerial officials of the province of Ontario.”
It was unclear who exactly was behind the process.
The Ontario Department of the Environment and Climate Change, the province’s Department of Energy and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Office of the Mining Inspector General are currently looking into the claim.