Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium (CCAMU)
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BC Moratorium

Cathy Walker
Surrey, BC

It is with distress that I learn of the possible development of uranium mining in Ontario. Surely the experience of Elliot Lake should have taught Ontarians of the hazards of this deadly substance. Not only did so many miners die as a result of their work in the mines, but so did fish downsteam from Elliot Lake.

Learning from the experience of Ontario, in the late 1970s, the people of British Columbia rallied against proposed exploration and mining of uranium. Trade unionists from all of the mining unions opposed the exploration and mining of uranium. The BC Medical Association ensured its members were educated about the dangers and active in the opposition to the proposal to explore and mine uranium. Environmental groups were all active and a number sprang up as a result of this activity. Church groups, especially the United Church and Anglican Church were active against the proposal. Native groups, on whose land much of the activity would have taken place, were active in opposition. Peace groups, opposed to the uses of uranium in nuclear bombs took part.

Citizens from small communities like Atlin in the far north and Rock Creek in southern BC, participated in public meetings. In fact, nearly all the 600 residents of the area packed the Rock Creek community hall to learn why uranium shouldn't be mined in their community. Citizens in cities like Kelowna demonstrated repeatedly against uranium mining and exploration. Every Friday Greenpeace and the United Church picketed the Kelowna constituency office of the then-Premier, Bill Bennett.

We were successful in ensuring the provincial government appointed a Royal Commission into uranium mining chaired by the late Dr. David Bates. The BC Federation of Labour and many other organizations were active participants and cross-examiners of uranium proponents at the inquiry. We rejoiced when the provincial government imposed a moratorium on uranium mining and exploration in 1980.

The voices of Gordon Edwards and Rosalie Bertell must be heard once again, as they were in the late 1970s in BC. There must be No uranium mining or exploration in Ontario. Alternative sources of energy such as wind and solar must be used instead of nuclear power. Energy conservation laws and policies must be strengthened so that there is no need for more nuclear power plants nor coal fired plants.