Yesterday, NDP MP Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster) introduced C-323, An Act to amend the Federal Courts Act (international promotion and protection of human rights).
As we’ve noted in a previous blog, Julian – a former executive director of the Council of Canadians – says, “The bill would ensure corporate accountability for Canadian firms operating abroad. It would broaden the mandate of the Federal Court so that it protects foreign citizens against rights violations committed by corporations operating outside of Canada. This bill would hold violators accountable for gross human rights abuses, regardless of where they take place, and it would allow lawsuits in Canada for a host of universal human rights violations. Essentially, this bill would provide legal protection for those in other countries who are the victims of gross human rights violations.”
This legislation is of particular significance given the harmful actions of Canadian-owned mining companies in Latin America, http://canadians.org/mining.
The text of the bill is not available yet on-line.
The Council of Canadians had supported Liberal MP John McKay’s bill C-300. It was defeated in an October 2010 House of Commons vote, 140-134. The Toronto Star reported at the time, “McKay’s legislation would have empowered Ottawa to establish standards for human rights and environmental conduct by corporations operating in the developing world. Credible accusations against Canadian companies would have been investigated and, if substantiated, the company would be deprived of political sponsorship at Canadian embassies and lose federal financial support from the Export Development Corp. McKay and his supporters said the legislation was a modest first step by the federal government to toughen scrutiny of extractive companies operating abroad and clamp down on bad corporate citizens.”
Among our various actions to support C-300, we contacted 16,000 of our members by e-mail to encourage them to call their MP to vote for the bill. One of our action alerts backing C-300 can be read at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5095.