Ottawa, October 19th, 2010 – The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) held a press conference in Ottawa today with a panel of national and international experts, who made a strong case in favour of Private Members’ Bill C-300 (The Responsible Mining Bill), introduced by Liberal MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood) and which will soon go to its final vote in the House of Commons.
The CNCA is a coalition of 21 groups concerned with the impact of Canadian extractive industries operating abroad and is calling for the Canadian Government to introduce legislation that will establish mandatory corporate accountability standards.
At the press conference, the CNCA delegation called on Canadian Members of Parliament to vote in favour of Bill C-300 as a way to ensure practices that respect human and environmental rights in the overseas communities where Canadian mining companies operate.
The speakers made the following declarations:
“There is a will from the Canadian population to see this bill passed. At Development and Peace we had an educational campaign on responsible mining, where 500,000 Canadians showed support for measures to ensure that Canadian companies are accountable to Ottawa in their overseas operation,” – Claire Doran, CNCA spokesperson and Director of Education at Development and Peace.
“Bill C-300 is critical to bring transparency to Canadian mining operations worldwide, it will provide fundamental guarantees to affected communities with regards to publicly funded projects as well as offer Canadian citizens assurance that public funds are going only to projects of the highest and most sustainable mining standards. Responsible Canadian mining companies should welcome Bill C-300, since it will help level the playing field for less responsible investments.” – Romina Picolotti, former environment minister for Argentina and winner of the 2006 Sophie Prize. During her testimony last year at the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, she described how she received threats from foreign mining companies while minister.
“When Canadian companies operate outside Canada, they do so with little legal liability for activities that may violate international human rights norms. Serious allegations have been made against some of Canada’s largest and most profitable extractive companies. Bill C-300 would help to address the regulatory void and would provide an opportunity for Canada to begin to retrieve its international reputation as a leading proponent for the promotion and protection of international human rights.” – Penelope Simons, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa.
“Bill C-300 would help create a Maple Leaf Quality assurance for Canadian companies, helping them access more capital and emerging market opportunities. Furthermore, Bill C-300 is neither perfect nor enough, but by making a move to a credible accountability mechanism, it sends a strong signal that Canadian companies will be on the winning side of the seismic shifts shaping our global economy.” – Toby Heaps, founder and editor-in-chief of the magazine Corporate Knights.
Other CNCA members also had the following messages in support of Bill C-300:
“Passing Bill C-300 would boost Canada’s national reputation and demonstrate that we take human rights seriously. It will clearly reject any double standard when it comes to acceptable human rights conduct at home and abroad. If Canadian companies lead the way in respect for human rights, the Canadian ‘brand’ will be enhanced. Ultimately, Bill C-300 is good for human rights and good for business.” – Alex Neve, Executive Director of Amnesty International Canada.
“The United Steelworkers has long been known as Canada’s mining union. It means we expect the corporations to respect our rights as workers. But just as we don’t think companies should operate here without the balance of collective bargaining to protect our rights, nor do we think companies should operate in other countries without formal checks and balances on their treatment of workers, communities and the environment.” - Ken Neumann, National Director for Canada, United Steelworkers
For more information or to request an interview with members of the delegation, please contact:
Kelly Di Domenico
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE
Tel.: (514) 257-8711 ext. 365,
Cell : (514) 295-4784
Tel.: (613) 731-6315 ext. 25
Cell: (514) 756.6966