Harper’s last Arctic visit, at Nunavik’s Raglan mine, ends in a struggle
Chinese reporter miffed when question ignored
(updated at 4:00 p.m.)
After leaving Rankin Inlet early Aug. 23, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the Raglan nickel mine in Nunavik, where he announced that a feasibility study for a clean energy wind project will receive $720,000.
Tugliq Energy Co. and Xstrata Nickel Inc. plan to integrate wind energy into the existing diesel-based electricity system.
“Remote communities and mining operations in the North remain dependent on diesel-based energy generation. The good news is that thanks to innovative thinking and with the support of our government, there may be a better way,” Harper told reporters at the mine site. “It’s no secret that it can get awfully windy around here.”
But when Li Xue Jiang of the People’s Daily, China’s largest newspaper, wanted to ask Harper a question, he ended up being restrained by members of Harper’s security team.
Li asked to put a question to Harper, a Canadian Press report on CTV said, but the PM’s staff did not recognize him.
Li wanted to ask Harper about Canada’s foreign investment regulations.
When Li tried to take the microphone, RCMP security staff pulled him to the back of the room, CP said.
At Raglan, Harper was accompanied by Nunavut MP and federal environment minister Leona Aglukkaq, Joe Oliver, the natural resources minister, Bernard Valcourt, the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Senator Dennis Patterson and Ryan Leef, the MP for Yukon.
The system proposed for the Raglan mine would generate energy from wind and store surplus wind energy through hydrogen, providing a stable and sustainable source of energy, a news release from the prime minister’s office said.
The feasibility study, which is leading to a full proposal expected to be completed in September 2013, examined the technical and commercial feasibility of integrating wind energy technology into the existing diesel-based electricity system.
Should the proposal for the wind project at Raglan mine get all its necessary permits to move ahead, the project could be operational by March 2016.