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UPDATE: Goldcorp to hold its annual shareholders meeting in Toronto, April 26

The Council of Canadians intends to participate in protests against Goldcorp when the Vancouver-based mining company holds its annual shareholders meeting in Toronto on April 26.

In mid-September, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow visited the infamous Marlin Mine, which is run by Goldcorp. Barlow writes, “It must be said that there exists ample, independent documentation on the harmful environmental and human rights practices of the Marlin Mine, so much so that in 2010, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on the Guatemalan government to suspend operations at the site pending a full and independent investigation into allegations of abuse. The government refused to comply with this ruling, which is considered mandatory by the Organization of American States. One look at the mine site itself tells a huge part of the story; there is the razed mountaintop, surrounded by huge lagoons of poisoned water. …The morning I left I presented at a large breakfast gathering of environmental, human rights groups and government officials and I told them I was ashamed to be Canadian that day and called on our movements to form alliances to expose this situation internationally.”

In March 2010, the Globe and Mail reported that Goldcorp had been a vocal opponent of Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries. That bill, supported by the Council of Canadians through action alerts and public education, was defeated in the House of Commons in late-October 2010. More on that at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=2672. The Council of Canadians is now supporting MP Peter Julian’s human rights act related to mining, C-323, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11435.

In May 2011, the Council of Canadians participated in protests outside the Golcorp shareholders meeting in Vancouver, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=9148. We have also highlighted in campaign blogs that the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board currently has $256 million worth of shares in Goldcorp and that the CPPIB has been called on to support a resolution demanding that Goldcorp suspend its Marlin mine operations, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=6798.

In August 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a controversial trip to Honduras to promote a Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement. The Canadian Press reported at that time, “Canadian mining companies have been blamed for health problems among Honduras’ indigenous communities.” This presumably refers to Vancouver-based Goldcorp’s open-pit San Martin gold mine. Critics have noted, “(Goldcorp is) violating the right and the dignity of access to clean water. The water in Valle de Siria is now polluted with heavy metals, like arsenic, lead, and mercury, all of which are a product of the exploitation of natural resources by Goldcorp. …(Goldcorp has also) gravely violated this right to health in Valle de Siria. Of the 42,000 inhabitants of Valle de Siria, 80 percent have had their health affected as a consequence of the activities of Goldcorp.” More on this situation at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10519.

Shout Out
The Council of Canadians is currently organizing a ‘Shout Out for Mining Justice’ conference that will take place on June 1-3 in Vancouver.

Barlow has written, “It is documented that Canadian mining companies are among the worst in the world in terms of environmental and human rights abuses. Companies such as Goldcorp and Pacific Rim in El Salvador are tarring Canada’s reputation internationally. This mine and others doing similar damage must shut down their operations while an expert, independent and public commission be established to carry out a full and impartial investigation of the abuses of which they are accused, and if necessary, be prepared to pay full reparation to the communities they have harmed.”

For campaign blogs related to mining and water, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?cat=449 as well as our ‘Water & mining in Latin America’ web-page at http://canadians.org/mining.