Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson released a discussion paper on Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy at the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention earlier this year. This is a response to that document.
A comprehensive industrial strategy is badly needed to confront the multiple crises Canada – and all humankind – is up against: climate, biodiversity, water, pollution, inequality, migration, and more. Unfortunately, this is not it. This is an adaptation of business as usual. While the emphasis on value-added manufacturing, high standards for environmental and human rights protection, Indigenous rights, and circular economy are welcome, its central thrust is towards deepened and accelerated extraction of raw materials for global markets. There is no recognition of the material implications of this approach to addressing the climate crisis, much less any recognition of already-strained planetary limits.
This is Canada’s “business as usual” – extraction, processing, and shipping raw materials, with limited “branch plant” manufacturing, reconstituted with added emphasis on value-added processing – and painted green.