No fracking!

Blue Goose Pure Foods emphatically states

TORONTO—Barely a day goes by without someone, be it a former journalist with the Globe and Mail or a concerned former Island expatriate, sending in an email or stopping a reporter in the restaurant, expressing concern about the connection between the financial investment firm Dundee Corporation and the Blue Goose Pure Foods Company, and advising that the media ‘dig a little deeper’ to find the smoking gun that would connect the energy investments (and fracking) of Dundee to the property being acquired on Manitoulin Island by the company for the purpose of raising organic beef.

This despite repeated and categorical assurances by the management of Blue Goose that the organic food company has no interests, nor have there been any conversations between principles at either company.

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The clear statement given to reporter Tom Sasvari of our sister paper The Recorder, and published in its June 14 edition, would have been expected to have put conspiracy rumours to rest, if not the actuality of how mineral rights work in the province of Ontario.

“Ned Goodman founder and CEO of the Dundee Corporation, and I got together to talk about 20 to 22 months ago about working together on organic clean food. There isn’t anyone in the industry in Canada that doesn’t know we are working on this,” said Mr. Reed in the Recorder report. He explained that on December 9, 2011 Dundee Corporate announced that through its wholly owned subsidiary Dundee Agricultural Corporation it had acquired a majority stake in Blue Goose Capital Corporation, the 100 percent owner of the Blue Goose Cattle Company continued the report.

“This was widely reported in December 2011, and he (Mr. Goodman) being with Dundee is the principal shareholder in Blue Goose,” said Mr. Reed. “But I can say without a doubt we have never talked, or thought about, fracking. It is not in our plans—we are in the organic agricultural sector, growing clean food.”

“Dundee is in energy, mining, and a full spectrum of investments, but we are the lead for them in the clean organic agricultural food business,” said Mr. Reed. “I suppose it is understandable there are some rumours out there but no, fracking is definitely not in our plans for the Island.”

That would seem to be a fairly clear laying to rest of the issue. But apparently not.

Even though in Ontario, as in most Canadian provinces, mineral rights and surface rights are separated, with the Crown retaining the rights to any gold, or oil, or gas, or any other valuable mineral resource for that matter. And although recent provincial legislation does require some accommodation between exploration and extraction companies and mitigation of any damages that occur in the process of extraction or exploration, the company who owns the mineral rights beneath the surface, or an who has an exploration interest in unpatented land (where the rights still reside with the Crown) and secured a permit from the province, only have to inform landowners that work has been done on their property—in the past they did not even have to tell property owners they are planning to do such work. Now they have to provide at least a day’s head’s up, with 30 days highly recommended in the interests of good relations. The reason cited by the province for this lack of disclosure by the industry is the highly competitive nature of the exploration industry. Apparently nobody messes to this day with Fred C. Dobbs (those not of an age can Google the Treasure of the Sierra Madre).

Blue Goose has not yet announced their plans for their extensive property holdings on Manitoulin, including the famed Carter’s Bay property along with its precarious dunes, now that the company no longer requires the land for its cattle operations. The company has announced a solid interest in maintaining its aquaculture operations on the Island and said that it would focus its limited resources on organic beef production at its British Columbia operations.

In case there any lingering doubts out there, we give Jean Lapine, executive vice president of communications at Blue Goose, who provided a confirming statement, the last word.

“Blue Goose is an organic and all natural protein company. Our interests on Manitoulin Island are, and will remain, to grow and process protein for sale as food products across North America. As stated in recent media coverage, we have a plan to grow our aquaculture business on Manitoulin Island. We have no plans and have never discussed at the management or at the Blue Goose Board level any interest whatsoever in oil and gas exploration on Manitoulin Island. We trust this should put these unfounded rumours to rest.”