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UPDATE: Ethics of PMO meeting with Barrick Gold left unanswered

The Council of Canadians is demanding that the Harper government come clean and address questions left unanswered by the parliamentary ethics commissioner.

Last August, the ethics commissioner launched an investigation into a May 23, 2012 meeting that included a representative of Barrick Gold, then chief of staff Nigel Wright, and Stephen Harper’s new chief of staff Ray Novak. The meeting was reportedly called because Barrick was concerned that comments made by Harper against Argentina’s claim on the Falkland Islands could negatively impact on the mining company receiving the permits they needed from the Argentine government for the controversial Pascua Lama mine.

One year later, the details of that meeting are still not known and the ethics commissioner has failed to release a public report on her investigation of the matter.

“If the prime minister wants transparency and accountability in Ottawa, then fuller disclosure about this meeting between Barrick Gold and his new chief of staff is needed,” says Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians. Blue Planet Project campaigner Meera Karunananthan adds, “Beyond this controversy, it’s scandalous how the Harper government has given its unconditional support to the Canadian mining industry, which is notorious for human rights and environmental abuses around the world.”

The Council of Canadians is calling on Mr. Novak to clarify the nature of the meeting that took place one year ago today. It is also calling on ethics commissioner Mary Dawson to complete her investigation of the meeting and for her report to be made public.