Pirate Party fires broadside on mining company over Facebook lawsuit

A lawsuit filed by Taseko Mining Ltd. against an environmental group over the organization’s Facebook posts and Web site updates, is an attempt to silence online criticism, according to the Pirate Party of Canada.

Taseko, the mining company behind a controversial mining proposal in British Columbia, filed on Thursday a lawsuit against The Wilderness Committee for alleged inaccurate and defamatory comments make by the organization about Taseko’s New Prosperity gold and copper mining project. The comments protested by Taseko appeared on Facebook and the environmental group’s Web site.

In a statement yesterday, the Pirate Party pointed out that it does not have a stance on the New Prosperity project issue since it is outside their sphere of interest. “However, we do take umbrage with Thursday’s filing of a lawsuit by Taseko Mines seeking to stifle online discussion fomented by the wilderness Committee,” the said.

The lawsuit focuses on postings to The Wilderness Committee’s Web site and Facebook account that claim the New Prosperity proposal will harm Fish Lake and Little Fish Lake. The mining company also said the group wrongly accused Taseko of failing to address concerns raised by a federal environmental review and attempting to deceive the B.C. and federal governments.

The project has faced opposition from environmentalists and local First Nations communities. A federal government  environmental review rejected the project in 2010. Late last year, Ottawa agreed to hear a second environmental review after Taseko promised changes designed to address environmental concerns.

The Wilderness Committee put forward the organizations beliefs about the dangers of the News Prosperity project, the Pirate Party said. When Taseko Mines pointed out several factual inaccuracies the environmental group “amended their arguments accordingly” the Pirate Party noted.

Taseko Mines may be correct in believing that the dangers to which the Wilderness Committee alludes are overstated, but they are wrong to seek an injunction to have online conversations censored and removed due to their objections, said Shawn Vulliez, leader of the Pirate Party of Canada.

“It is a slippery slope once we allow a corporation to silence our national non-profit organizations’ criticisms,” Vulliez said.

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