Yves Engler writes in his book ‘The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy‘ about Harper’s endless campaign for mining profits. An excerpt has just been published in the Tyee.
He notes various actions the Harper government has taken to foster Canadian corporate interests in Latin America:
- CHILE: Canada-based Barrick Gold Corporation, the world’s largest gold producer, gained important support for its Pascua Lama operations… The prime minister visited the company’s Chilean office and said: “Barrick follows Canadian standards of corporate social responsibility.”
- ECUADOR: Canadian officials took a keen interest in the country’s mining debate after large-scale mining was suspended for 180 days while a new mining law was written in 2009. …Along with a number of mining representatives, Canada’s ambassador to Ecuador, Christian LaPointe, discussed mining regulations with Ecuador’s president in April 2008. …The Conservatives’ lobbying was successful. Canadian businessmen were granted a privileged position during mining law negotiations and key Canadian holdings escaped Ecuador’s mining mandate.
- PERU: The Conservatives signed a free trade agreement largely to protect $5 billion in Canadian mining investment in Peru from the type of legislative changes Ecuador implemented. …In 2008 CIDA gave $4 million to the Mineral Resources Reform Project to provide technical assistance and technological support to Peru’s Ministry of Mines and Energy.
- BOLIVIA: The Conservatives immediately went to bat for (Vancouver-based South American Silver after it was announced that the Bolivian government might nationalize its mine). …This included visits with officials in La Paz and Bolivia’s ambassador to Canada.
And in other parts of the world:
- TANZANIA: During a Nov. 2007 visit to Tanzania Harper once again met representatives of Barrick, which had more than $1 billion invested in the East African country.
- AFGHANISTAN: The Conservatives brought the Afghan minister of mines to the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Conference in Toronto. …In Nov. 2011 the Afghan Ministry of Mines awarded Toronto-based Kilo Goldmines a 25 percent stake in Hajigak, the largest iron deposit in Asia. The Conservatives hailed the move.
- MONGOLIA: In at least one case the Conservatives established diplomatic relations with a country (Mongolia) simply to serve mining interests.
- DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Claiming Vancouver-based First Quantum violated parts of its contract, in Sept. 2009 the Congolese government withdrew the company’s rights to a copper mine in the eastern part of the country. …At the G8/G20 in June 2010, the Conservatives pushed for a declaration to the final communiqué calling on the Congo to “extend urgently the rule of law” and “enhance governance and accountability in the extractive sector.”
Engler concludes, “So, it would appear that not only do the Conservatives support the interests of the mining industry in general, but under Harper this country’s foreign policy enforces the interests of all mining companies, no matter the context. Is this a foreign policy to make Canadians proud?”
Last November, fifteen Council of Canadians chapters organized book tour events with Engler to help promote his book.
For more, please read:
Stephen Harper’s Endless Campaign for Mining Profits
UPDATE: Council chapters support 15 tour stops for ‘The Ugly Canadian’ book tour
UPDATE: Sinking the Harper agenda through our mining injustice campaign