KGHM-Ajax steps back from B.C. Liberal Party donation

By James Peters
May 30, 2016 - 11:41am Updated: May 30, 2016 - 5:26pm

KAMLOOPS — KGHM-Ajax and Kamloops MLAs Todd Stone and Terry Lake all say a contribution by the mining company at a BC Liberal party fundraiser Friday night wasn't a good idea.

During the fundraiser, KGHM-Ajax won a live auction for a private barbecue with Stone and Lake, with a bid of $7900.

Vice President of External Affairs Yves Lacasse says soon afterward, he decided it wasn't a good idea.

"At an event when you are trying to raise money, and now with perception and everything we have decided that the second highest bidder will be approached to see if they will take this auction item, and KGHM will withdraw its bid," said Lacasse.

"We wanted to be part of the action, as we had been asked by the auctioneer at the time, but in retrospect I think the perception is probably best that we stay out of it, and not make that contribution at this time." 

Todd Stone says he and Lake met with each other shortly after the auction ended.

"We determined that it would probably be best, certainly from an optics perspective, if we were to decline the contribution from KGHM. Upon having a conversation with Yves Lacasse at KHGM, he had come to the same conclusion," 

Stone says it's important that the integrity of the environmental assessment process is protected, even when it comes to optics.

He adds the entire private barbecue event has been scrapped, and won't be offered to anyone.

Meantime, Lacasse says even though the company issued seven layoff notices last week, it will still make contributions and donations to organizations throughout the community.

The $7,900 bid came just days after Ajax laid off seven employees from its Kamloops staff.

But Lacasse says the layoffs won't do anything to stop Ajax from giving money to certain organizations in the community.

"We are awarding money now. I have 18 applications on my desk that we are going through. This is not going to stop. We have made a commitment to the community and we continue to do so." 

"We remain committed to the project. We remain committed to the community. The decisions that were made, I think were sound decisions based on the current price of commodity, and functions that were eliminated from the project, where functions that could be done out of our office in Vancouver." 

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