The Council of Canadians supports Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries.
Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow recently criticized the Harper government’s opposition to Bill C-300 and linked the lack of legislated protections to the murder of Mariano Abarca Roblero, a critic of the Calgary-based Blackfire Exploration Ltd. which has contaminated rivers in southern Mexico through their mining operations.
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.”
Bill C-300 passed second reading in the House of Commons in April 2009 (in a 137 to 133 vote) and is now being reviewed by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. If accepted by the majority of the committee’s members, it will return to the House of Commons for third and final reading.
MiningWatch is asking that you write your Member of Parliament and the standing committee “to ensure that Canadian mining companies live up to international human rights and labour standards and environmental best practices when they operate overseas, and that government financial and political support are not provided to companies that abuse human rights and the environment.”
They note that if Bill C-300 is passed, it will:
– put in place human rights, labour, and environmental standards that Canadian extractive companies receiving government support must live up to when they operate in developing countries;
– create a complaints mechanism that will allow members of affected communities abroad, or Canadians, to file complaints against companies that are not living up to those standards;
– create a possible sanction for companies that are found to be out of compliance with the standards, in the form of loss of government financial and political support.
Your support for Bill C-300 is crucial because even these modest measures are being aggressively fought by industry associations and individual companies.
To respond to the MiningWatch action alert, please go to http://www.miningwatch.ca/en/urgent-action-support-legislation-hold-canadian-mining-companies-account-abuses-overseas.