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Federal Minister Finley could face contempt of court charges in HD Mining court case

Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley could be facing a contempt of court charge tomorrow if documents related to a court case involving HD Mining and two unions are not released.

Charles Gordon, lawyer for the International Union of Operating Engineers and Construction and Specialized Workers Unions, said the ministry has not forced HD Mining to release documents containing resumes of Canadians who applied for jobs at the company's Murray River coal mine project.

Earlier this month, a federal court justice ordered all materials related to Labour Market Opinions used to apply for permits for 201 Chinese nationals to work at the mine be given to the unions.

This week, a Federal Court of Appeal judge wouldn't accept an appeal filed by the federal government to block the ruling.

The HRSDC ministry has control over the documents, but HD Mining physically holds them.

Gordon said if all the documents are not released tomorrow, the unions will file a contempt of court application against Finley.

"We need those documents to submit our materials for relief," said Gordon. "At the moment HD Mining is refusing to hand them over."

The unions want to see the documents for their court case aimed at stopping the company from bringing foreign workers to the mine, a practice they alleged has been done to skirt Canadian wages.

Gordon said, according to the law, it is now up to HRSDC to force the company to hand over the materials, which would in theory show the company went to appropriate lengths to hire Canadians for the positions without success.

The government has asked for the documents twice without success and Gordon said -- if HRSDC cannot get the documents -- a massive flaw in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will be revealed.

"Any company can say they couldn't find qualified Canadians and HRSDC has no way of knowing if that's correct," he said.

"In that case, the program is a joke . . . the integrity of the program goes out the window."

He said the chance of the documents being handed over Friday is "small," which means a contempt of court charge could be filed Friday afternoon.

Minister Finley's office has not responded to a request for comment on the case.

Last week a Federal Court justice denied an application for an injunction that would have stopped more miners from arriving this month.

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