Taking Action Against Harmful Mining Practices

Bill‐C‐300 needs your support!
There are countless cases of human rights abuse and environmental damage caused by Canadian extractive companies operating abroad. In 2008, 75 percent of the world's exploration and miningcompanies were headquartered in Canada. Despite this, there are still no mechanisms in place for the Canadian government to regulate our companies abroad.

Bill C‐300, An Act Respecting Corporate Accountability for Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries, is an important step towards achieving corporate accountability in Canada. It is up for a crucial third reading vote in parliament this fall. This bill passed by a narrow margin at its previous two readings and the extractive industry is now putting pressure on Ottawa to block it. Some Liberal Party and NDP MPs, including Michael Ignatieff, abstained from voting, or voted "no" at previous readings.

The single most effective way that you can support this bill is to:

Call, e‐mail or write your MP, asking them to vote "yes" to Bill C‐300. If your MP has already voiced their support for the bill, it is still important to contact them. With industry pressure in Ottawa, even those who previously voted "yes," especially members of the Liberal party, could switch their vote at the next reading.

Personalized letters and phone calls go a long way. Click here for your MP's voting record on C‐300.

Based on information received by Amnesty International, the following MPs may be undecided or wavering in their support for Bill C‐300.
Larry Bagnell (Yukon, YK); Carolyn Bennett (St Paul's, ON); Scott Brison (Kings‐Hants, NS); Siobhan Coady (St John's South – Mt Pearl, NL); Rodger Cuzner (Cape Breton, NS); Ujjal Dosanjh (Vancouver South, BC); Ken Dryden (York Centre, ON); Wayne Easter (Malpeque (PEI); Judy Foote (St George's, NL); Ralph Goodale (Wascana, SK); Albina Guarnieri (Mississauga East – Cooksville, ON); Martha Hall Findlay (Willowdale, ON); Michael Ignatieff (Etobicoke‐Lakeshore, ON); David McGuinty (Ottawa South, ON); Shawn Murphy (Charlottetown, PEI); Bob Rae (Toronto Centre, ON); Geoff Regan (Halifax West, NS). Quebec MPs who abstained from the previous vote, or who, according to information received by Amnesty International, may be undecided: Irwin Cotler, Liberal (Mont‐Royal); Marlene Jennings, Liberal (Notre‐Dame‐de‐Grâce—Lachine); Bernard Patry, Liberal (Pierrefonds—Dollard); Marcel, Proulx, Liberal (Hull—Aylmer); Massimo Pacetti (Saint Leonard, QC).

Other ways to support Bill C‐300

  • Contact friends and family members, especially those whose members of parliament abstained orvoted "no" in the second reading vote, encouraging them to contact their MPs with the same request. (See list above.)
  • Attend the Public Rally for C‐300 on October 19th, 2010 on Parliament Hill at 12:30pm. MP John McKay, who introduced Bill C‐300, will address the group at 1:00pm. Other MPs will stop by to meetsupporters and offer encouragement. Invite your MP to join the rally.
  • Write letters to the editors of local, regional and national newspapers, telling them about C‐300, why you support it, and why our government should too.

Why Get Involved?

The majority of mining companies in the world are Canadian. They are present in South America, Mexico, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Nearly two in every three mining projects around the world, more than 3,000, are run by Canadian corporations.

Unfortunately, over the years there have been a number of concerns expressed by civil populations and activists about mining practices of some Canadian companies. These allegations include very serious accusations: the killings of anti‐mining activists in El Salvador and Mexico; forcible eviction of residents near a Barrick Gold Corp. mine in Papua New Guinea; environmental damage in Guatemala; death threats and assaults in Ecuador. As Canadians we have a special responsibility to improve the practices of Canadian mining companies at home and abroad.

"The boom year which preceded the financial crisis saw unprecedented demand for metals. This led to a surge of exploration by mining companies pushing them into ever more fragile environments and socially sensitive areas and provoking a spate of bad news stories about mining…As growth returns, so will the demand for metals and mining companies will intensify their search for new deposits.

Mining affects many of our named priority areas for action on the part of JPIC and the Congregational Social Justice Network:

Human Rights: See above human rights concerns.

Environmental Issues: Mining is one of the most environmentally damaging industries in the world, creating huge amounts of waste and using toxic chemical like cyanide to extract gold from the rock. The huge volumes of water required in large‐scale mining can deplete local water supplies. The legacy of poorly managed waste can continue to affect the local environment and population for centuries after the project has closed.

Poverty & Social Justice: Indigenous people have a very strong connection to their land which makes the prospect of displacement a culturally sensitive issue. Mining places poor communities around the world side by side with it most powerful companies. All communities have the right to give or withhold their consent for any project which will affect them based on clear and comprehensive information. However, making the community's voice heard and getting companies to listen is a desperately unequal struggle.

In the past few years we have joined Development & Peace in their mining campaign and last spring they delivered 153,000 postcards to the government calling for action. Now the mining companies are pushing back and have had their own postcard campaign. They are lobbying against Bill C—300 and our support for the Bill is more important now than ever before.

Read the backgrounder.