The Fraser Institute’s vice-president of international policy research Fred McMahon writes in the Vancouver Sun, “The mining sector is facing a threat posed by Private Member’s Bill C-323, the stepchild of C-300 which was narrowly defeated in 2010. Bill C-323, which appears to be aimed primarily at resource companies, would give Canadian courts jurisdiction in all civil cases from anywhere in the world that involve a violation of international law or a treaty to which Canada is party.” He argues, “C-323 could be used mercilessly by anti-mining, anti-development NGOs to tie up companies in huge costs and red tape anytime they felt like it.”
McMahon further attacks, “C-323 also adds a lengthy list of other offences that seem to stop short only of spitting out gum. Here’s an example: A company with ‘direct knowledge of an impending environmental emergency’ which fails to provide ‘adequate’ warnings could be subject to Canada’s civil law. What does this mean? What is ‘direct knowledge’ or ‘environmental emergency’ or ‘adequate” warnings?’ Well, just about anything, in the view of radical NGOs these days. Thus, off to Canadian courts under C-323.”
Unlike the Fraser Institute, the Council of Canadians supports C-323 and believes that it is necessary legislation (we also supported C-300, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=8439). We have highlighted our support for C-323 on our website http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10957 and have encouraged people to sign a petition in support of C-323 http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11435. We have also invited the Member of Parliament behind this bill, Peter Julian, to speak at our ‘Shout Out Against Mining Injustice’ this June 1-2 in Vancouver.
As noted on the conference web-page:
Saturday June 2
12:15 – 1:45 p.m. Lunch Plenary
Bringing Canadian Mining Companies to Justice: Obstacles and opportunities
In order to support an ever-expanding mining industry, the Canadian government is dismantling environmental safeguards in Canada while undermining local democracy abroad through the aggressive pursuit of trade deals that entrench corporate rights. This panel will examine these realities, and explore the tools at our disposal to hold these companies and the Canadian government accountable.
- John Cavanagh, IPS Director, Institute for Policy Studies
- Vidalina Morales de Gámez, member, The National Roundtable against Metallic Mining in El Salvador (La Mesa)
- Peter Julian, Member of Parliament, Burnaby-New Westminster
- Karyn Keenan, Program Officer, Halifax Initiative
- Moderator: Steven Shrybman, Lawyer, Sack, Goldblatt, Mitchell LLP
To register for ‘Shout Out Against Mining Injustice’, please go to http://canadians.org/shoutout.