Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Legal Arguments Bog Down Court Argument over Chinese Miners in B.C

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Legal Arguments Bog Down Court Argument over Chinese Miners in B.C

Article excerpt

Legal tussle bogs fight over Chinese miners

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VANCOUVER - Legal wrangling bogged down what was to be the first day of a Federal Court judicial review of temporary foreign worker permits issued to a northern B.C. coal mine.

On Tuesday, lawyers for one of the companies involved in the project, Canadian Dehua International Mines Group, asked the court to disregard some of the affidavits submitted by the unions among the thousands of pages of documents filed in the case.

"These written submissions are full of extraordinarily inflammatory language, accusing HD Mining of being a liar, of misrepresenting, of blowing hot and cold and all sort of other spurious allegations which we would submit are not found in evidence," Laura Best, lawyer for Dehua, referring to the second company involved, HD Mining International.

Among the "behemoth" of information filed by the unions in their pursuit of a judicial review, are affidavits based on hearsay and false allegations, Best said.

The unions fired back with written arguments labelling the application by the companies to dismiss the affidavits an abuse of process.

Two unions are challenging the government decision last year granting HD Mining permission to bring miners from China to perform preliminary work at its proposed Murray River project near Tumbler Ridge, B.C.

The company received positive labour market opinions -- documents that confirm a skilled labour shortage -- from Service Canada that allowed them to bring 201 miners from overseas to perform bulk sampling work at the proposed mine.

The Construction and Specialized Workers Union, Local 1611, and the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 115, say Canadian workers are willing and able to perform those jobs.

But the unions are attempting to have the court weigh different evidence than is required by Service Canada, a lawyer for HD Mining told Federal Court Judge Russell Zinn. …

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