The first stop on the Prime Minister’s itinerary for a three-day battery supply chain tour was Saskatoon to meet with workers at Vital Metals. The company, along with its Indigenous partners in the Northwest Territories, mines the Rare Earth Elements and then they are shipped to a processing plant in Saskatoon. The critical minerals include what is needed for batteries in electric vehicles. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says developing and processing our critical minerals here in Canada is the first step in the clean technology supply chain, which creates good middle-class jobs all while keeping our air clean for generations to come.
Premier Scott Moe wondered why provincial government representatives weren’t invited to join in the Vital Metals portion of the tour. Trudeau told reporters that he and the Premier have made lots of funding announcements together in the past and the Saskatchewan government is an important partner on many different issues, but at the same time he says, there is work to be done on encouraging the Government of Saskatchewan to see the opportunities that companies and workers are seeing in jobs for clean energy projects.
Recently, the federal government announced $5 million in funding to help establish processing and production at the Vital Minerals facility. Trudeau states, “When electric vehicles are made from Canadian minerals, assembled by Canadian auto workers, and powered at Canadian-made chargers, we secure and create jobs, grow our economy, and keep our air clean now and into the future.”
Right now, China controls over 80 per cent of the manufacture and supply of these rare earth metals. He calls China a somewhat challenging partners, and suggests the world is looking to Canada as a more environmentally responsible option.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations is disappointed the Prime Minister didn’t include Star Blanket Cree Nation during his visit to Saskatchewan, considering the recent announcement of 2,000 anomalies at Lebret Indian Residential School and an unearthed fragment of a child’s skull. Before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began his speech about the importance of Canada becoming a provider of what the world needs for green energy, he said he would be remiss if he didn’t mention the heartbreaking news from Star Blanket.
“I spoke with Chief Michael Star on Friday to express our ongoing support whether its financial or with resources, as that community moves through on location of remains.” Trudeau said.
Trudeau also noted that healing and closure is so important in the aftermath the horrific residential schools that impacted so many across the country.
FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron suggests the Prime Minister not paying his respects in person at Star Blanket shows a lack of respect that “is hurtful towards all residential school survivors and descendants who are grappling with how to handle finding the child’s remains and more unmarked graves.”
(CJWW | Photo: CJWW)