On October 4-6, sixty-eight leaders from across Canada gathered at the Viscount Gort Hotel in Winnipeg for "Strengthening our Voices: a leadership conference about mining in Canada".
The workshops included:
- A slide show on the environmental and social impacts of mining in Canada's boreal forest;
- Mining's privileged access to land (sometimes known as "free entry"): this workshop had a panel including provincial and federal crown land, private land, and first nations land perspectives;
- Diamonds: a look at the context of conflict diamonds in Africa, lessons learned from the Lutsel K'e First Nation's experience with negotiating an IBA with BHP and Rio Tinto/Aber (the Ekati and Diavik diamond mines respectively) in the North West Territories, and the environmental impacts of diamond mining;
- Divided communities: a workshop for people to share their stories from their communities;
- Financing strategies: a workshop about investor campaigning; and
- The full costs of mining: a presentation of the report: "Looking Beneath the Surface" which examines the perverse subsidies and tax exemptions that the federal, BC, Ontario, Yukon, and Québec governments give to the mining industry.
This conference was an excellent opportunity to introduce people to different struggles across Canada, and an exciting moment in building a Canadian network on mining issues.