When gold fever outvotes morality

When gold fever outvotes morality I write regarding Barrett W. Horne's comments in his letter of November 12. Bill C-300 was in response to the growing number of reports of human rights and environmental abuses by some Canadian mining companies in deve

I write regarding Barrett W. Horne’s comments in his letter of November 12.

Bill C-300 was in response to the growing number of reports of human rights and environmental abuses by some Canadian mining companies in developing countries.

If Bill C-300 had passed it would have provided a mechanism for affected people and communities to seek recourse.

The following is a quote from a group of 39 Latin American Human Rights organizations that wrote to all the MPs of the House of Commons just prior to the vote on the Bill C-300.

“ÉIn our countries, we have been witnesses to serious negative impacts generated by mining and extractives companies. In many cases, despite the fact these actions amount to human rights violations, domestic crimes and violations of international environmental standards, we are unable to promote greater responsibility by these companies, due, in part to the absence of effective monitoring and complaints mechanisms. This often leaves the rights of farming and indigenous communities unprotected.

“In this context we believe the enactment of Bill C-300 will constitute a valuable instrument to allow citizens in many countries of the world to demand of Canadian mining companies respect for international human rights and, in particular, economic, social and cultural as well as environmental rights and standards so that these can become a concrete and effective reality for everyone.

“Furthermore, the implementation of mechanisms provided for in C-300 will send a positive message to the world regarding the commitment of the Canadian government regarding respect for international human rights treaties, to justice, and with care for the environment and definitively, a commitment to making the world a more just and humane place for all human beings who share this common home, planet EarthÉ.”

The actions and behaviour of Canadian mining companies internationally is serious enough that the Norwegian government has now removed Barrick Gold stocks from its pension fund portfolio.

We all should be concerned about further negative impacts on investment and jobs but the fact is that the majority of the mining companies that have been involved directly or indirectly in human rights violations are Canadian.

There must be corporate responsibility and accountability.

I believe that those in the political arena should continue to work towards a workable solution for the House and Senate to ensure businesses use ethical decision-making in the matter of human rights and environmental protection.

Let Canada lead and demand that all the world’s extraction companies conform to international human rights standards.

Rob McClure

Whitehorse