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LETTER: St. John’s chapter chair challenges EDC loan to Vale

The Globe and Mail reported in early October that, “Export Development Canada is set to announce one of the largest deals in the government agency’s 65-year history: up to $1 billion (US) in financing to Brazilian miner Vale SA. …The loan is for Vale’s projects in Canada and to encourage the world’s second-largest miner to use more Canadian suppliers in its operations outside the country. …Asked whether Vale is obligated to use Canadian suppliers as a condition of the deal, (the EDC’s chief executive officer) said it is not formally written into the agreement. Rather it is an ‘understanding’… Up to $250 million (of the EDC financing for Vale) will go toward the Long Harbour nickel processing plant (that will destroy Sandy Pond).”

In a letter to the editor published in the Toronto Star and The Telegram, St. John’s chapter chair Ken Kavanagh writes, “Why is this Canadian government agency making the largest loan in its 65-year history to this very profitable non-Canadian company of which half is for operations outside of Canada with no contractual requirement to purchase from Canadian companies? To add insult to injury, this is the same company that has kept Voisey’s Bay workers on strike for more than 15 months and is destroying a pristine lake to save more money. This is reprehensible, irresponsible and wasteful and represents a new form of corporate welfare. …The power and influence of the corporate lobby on our democracy is immense. It not only drives public policy in this country but seemingly also facilitates easy access to the public trough — even when it is not needed.”

Ken’s letter can be read in full at http://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters/article/874999–ottawa-serving-its-masters-with-vale-loan. More on the EDC financing agreement with Vale at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=4827.