Barret W. Horne’s letter of November 12 is as offensive as it is misleading.
Larry Bagnell is arguably one of the hardest-working MPs in Canada and an honourable individual. Moreover, his vote for Bill C-300 accurately represented the values of people in his constituency.
Increasing numbers of Yukoners are outraged at continued human rights violations and the ecological devastation demonstrated by Canadian mining companies once they are beyond the reach of the Canadian legal system.
Bagnell did his research and voted, no doubt, with his conscience.
Bill C-300 would apply only to those Canadian companies that rely on taxpayer-funded financial support through an organization such as Export Development Canada. Why should Canadian taxpayers fund rape, murder and environmental abuse?
It is worth noting that prior to the vote on Bill C-300, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade ran from October 2009 to June 2010 and heard 25 witnesses speak in favour of Bill C-300.
Included was Romino Picolotti, former environment minister of Argentina, who testified she had been threatened by Canada’s Barrick Gold as a result of her efforts to carry out her ministerial duties.
A graphic report by human rights lawyers Tyler Giannini of the Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic and Sarah Knuckey of the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University Law School detailed allegations of rape and killing by Barrick’s security forces at the Porgera Joint Venture mine in Papua New Guinea.
Canadian mining companies trumpet policies proclaiming corporate social responsibility, yet according to a report by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, “Canadian companies have been the most significant group involved in unfortunate incidents in the developing world.”
As the final vote came closer, lobbying by the mining industry was intense with Barrick Gold registering seven lobbyists to lobby against Bill C-300. They met with 22 members of Parliament and three senators. Additionally, the Mining Association of Canada lobbied at least 29 members of Parliament. Other companies lobbying against the bill included Vale Canada, Goldcorp, Kinross and IAMGOLD.
A democracy ought to value all perspectives in an effort to find the truth and represent the will of the people. Corporate “messaging” is simply propaganda designed to protect the bottom line, with no regard for people or the environment.
We elect governments to regulate corporations in our interests, not to be corporate mouthpieces.