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ACTION ALERT: Contact your MP on C-300 before Oct. 27 vote

See updated version of action alert with MP contact information at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5095.

The Council of Canadians supports Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries. It has been reported that this private members bill – now in its third and final reading – will be voted on in the House of Commons on October 27.

The Toronto Star reports today that, “Canadian mining companies are far and away the worst offenders in environmental, human rights and other abuses around the world, according to a global study commissioned by an industry association but never made public. …The problems involving Canada’s mining and exploration corporations go far beyond workplace issues. (The Canadian Centre for the Study of Resource Conflict report says) ‘Canadian companies are more likely to be engaged in community conflict, environmental and unethical behaviour, and are less likely to be involved in incidents related to occupational concerns.’ …The study said the leading causes of incidents involving Canadian mining companies were related to community conflict, including ‘significant negative cultural and economic disruption to a host community, as well as significant protests and physical violence’. The second most common cause of incidents involved environmental degradation, followed by unethical behaviour, which the Centre defines as operating in a state that is under embargo or careless disregard for human rights or local laws.” More on the study at http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/877438–canadian-mining-firms-worst-for-environment-rights-report.

As we have highlighted in past campaign blogs, people opposing Canadian-owned mining operations near their communities are often trying to protect their water:

– Calgary-based Blackfire Exploration Ltd, a private mining company with interests in southern Mexico, has been accused of involvement in the murder of Mariano Abarca Roblero. He had blamed the company for contaminated local rivers and for the death of local crops and livestock. The mine has been indefinitely closed for “building roads without authorization, polluting and causing toxic emissions.” More on that at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=2406.

– Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Mining Company owns the El Dorado gold mine in El Salvador. Since 2005, many residents of Cabañas have been trying to stop this mine. They are concerned the mine will threaten local water supplies (including the nearby Lempas River) and ruin their ability to grow crops. That river irrigates the country’s farming industry and supplies drinking water to more than half of residents in greater San Salvador. The mine would consume 30,000 litres of water a day, drawn from the same sources that currently provide local residents with water only once a week. Opponents of the mine – Dora ‘Alicia’ Recinos Sorto, Ramiro Rivera and Marcelo Rivera – were all murdered last year. More on this at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=2596.

Both Amnesty International and MiningWatch Canada are supporting Bill C-300. Amnesty International states that they are “deeply concerned about human rights violations committed directly or indirectly by Canadian mining, oil and gas companies in developing countries.” MiningWatch writes, “Bill C-300 responds to the urgent need for a stronger regulatory framework to hold Canadian mining, oil and gas companies accountable, in Canada, for human rights, labour, and environmental violations overseas.” They add, “The Canadian government has consistently failed to create meaningful measures to regulate the activities of Canadian mining companies operating overseas.”

Call your Member of Parliament today and demand that they support C-300. To find the contact information for your federal representative, please go to http://canadians.org/action/contact_reps.html.