Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

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Gavin Rogers – Fraser Institute | Week 10

Gavin Rogers

13 February 2017

Last weekend Bacchus, Josef, Snow and I took the opportunity to head up north and stay in a cute little wooden cabin. It was forecast to snow a large amount in Vancouver, so we figured we might as well go all out and just commit to a stay in the mountains. The sea to sky highway that took us to Birken winds its way up through a plethora of awe-inspiring peaks and valleys, the scenery is easily some of the best I’ve ever seen in my life.

The first thing I noticed in our cabin was the “please do not feed the bears” sign. Later that evening Josef told us the Native American folk tale about cannibalistic supernatural spirits known as “Wendigo”, who would search the Northern forests relentlessly for new victims to feast on.

Legend has it that the Wendigo would grow in proportion to their meals, so that they were simultaneously both gluttonous and emaciated from starvation, leaving them eternally ravenous and never satiated. Foreigners are always talking about how dangerous the Australian outback and its animals are, but after seeing that sign and hearing about cannibalistic spirits I was feeling considerably more concerned for my safety in our cute little cabin! Nevertheless, we had an amazing time.

I also managed to squeeze in a hockey game, where unfortunately the Vancouver Canucks lost 4-1 to the San Jose Sharks. How does a Canadian hockey team get beaten by one from sunny California you might ask? Good question, I have no idea.

The finishing touches are being placed on the 2016 mining survey as we prepare it for release soon. It’s astounding how much work goes into these final reports and publications. I’ve personally witnessed four revised versions, and on the most recent I still managed to pick up a rounding error that had mixed up the ranking order on one of the charts.

Accompanying the survey itself must be all the necessary ancillary documents, so I have also been preparing a set of notes for Ken and Taylor that will serve as reference material when they are inevitably contacted by the media. I would love to share some insights from the survey but it is all still top secret until release.

However, I have made some ground with the social licence literature review. As I venture deeper into the research, it has steered away from general CSR concepts and into a more detailed examination of governance and rule of law. The more I read, the more I realise that social licence most likely emerged from the failures and inefficiencies of bureaucracy.

Civil society has grown frustrated with Government’s lack of effective and meaningful solutions to their concerns, and exploration companies have grown frustrated with the ever-increasing burden of regulation to wade through. The result has been social licence, a tumultuous concept that allows companies and stakeholders to negotiate elsewhere.

Since it is largely exempt from the rule of law it is consequently also unfair and inconsistent, granting excessive power to obstructionist minorities. Yet, it has still somehow become a necessary measure beyond reliance on Government. Unbelievable.

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