VICTORIA— New Democrat Leader John Horgan is calling for the resignation of Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett after B.C.’s Auditor General blamed failures in his ministry for the tailings pond breach at Mount Polley.
“The Auditor General is calling for a major overhaul of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, and government should start by replacing Mr. Bennett,” said Horgan.
Bennett has said publicly “if the independent investigation proves that my ministry was negligent and caused this accident, I will take personal responsibility for my ministry and resign.”
Horgan is calling on the minister to keep his word.
“This report is a scathing condemnation of Bill Bennett’s tenure as minister. The Auditor General concludes that the ministry’s lack of oversight directly led to the breach at Mount Polley. She has judged the minister in the harshest possible terms,” said Horgan.
The report found that the province’s compliance and enforcement programs were inadequate and under-resourced, and concluded, “The compliance and enforcement activities of both the Ministry of Energy and Mines, and the Ministry of Environment are not set up to protect the province from environmental risks.”
“The New Democrats have long called for a balanced approach to resource development,” said Horgan. “The Auditor General’s report makes it clear that the B.C. Liberals have abandoned any semblance of balance when it comes to mining development.”