Lew Sitzer: Need an independent survey
Recently, I received a phone call asking me to participate in an independent survey regarding the Rise Gold mine proposal. I asked how it was funded, and the fellow said he was not at liberty to say. I was wary of biased efforts in favor or opposed to the mine.
After one or two questions, it was clear to me that the survey was front-loaded in favor of the mine. I said so to the man conducting the survey and he assured me that the survey was fair. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and continued.
The survey took about 20 minutes, and to be clear, the end of the survey did cover some of the negative consequences of the mine operations. But most of the survey repeatedly highlighted the advantages of opening the mine and was not at all a fair, unbiased or balanced questionnaire. Its results need to be questioned.
Clearly, there is a conflict of interest. Upon reading the article on the front page of The Union, we learned that the survey was funded by the mine owners. To do so and represent it as fair and balanced is very misleading to the public and questions their honesty.
The owners commented in The Union article that public comments about opening the mine were on the negative side. The owners were interested in the silent majority, however that could be determined.
If we are to have a community survey, it needs to be constructed and conducted by local government. Surely there is a better way to assess the public than to have this kind of questionable approach in what would be a major enterprise with huge impact to the quality of our lives for now and into the distant future.
I believe The Union is attempting to report in a fair way on a very important local issue. It needs to dig deeper and research the track record of this company and the industry in general, as we all need to be better educated.
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