OTTAWA – The Green Party is pleased to offer its full support for today’s continent-wide day of action against the global offences of the Canadian mining industry.
“The failure of some Canadian mining companies to respect the environment and human rights throughout the Americas – from Canada to Argentina – has forced the many communities affected to stand up and protest,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands. “As a Canadian, I am ashamed that the irresponsible behaviour of some Canadian corporations has reached this level that brings our global reputation into disrespect.”
60% of the world’s publicly traded mining companies are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, accounting for more than 3200 exploitation projects in over 100 countries. Canada is the largest stakeholder in the resource extraction industry in the Americas with 37% of total investment.
Too many Canadian-based mining operations have forced people from their homes, destroying communities and livelihoods; they have threatened water and food safety and caused long- term health problems. As well, they have disregarded indigenous and human rights and led to small-scale miners, union, environmental, and community activists being threatened and often jailed.
Large-scale mining explorations and exploitations have also led to an irreversible loss in biodiversity. Despite the fact that resource extraction is presented by the Harper Conservatives and CIDA as good for jobs and economic growth, too often the reality for local people is the opposite.
“Until Canadian mining operations abroad can prove that their impact is truly beneficial – and not just for profits, the Conservatives should divest public funds, including our pensions, from these extraction industries,” said May. “They should support a Corporate Responsibility Act, such as Bill C-323, that establishes corporate accountability standards, penalizes companies linked to human rights violations, and allows foreign nationals to pursue legal action for damages in Canadian courts.
Mr. Harper should also stop signing free-trade agreements that pave the way for nearly unrestricted extraction.”
The Green Party leader also noted that public institutions, including the Museum of Natural History in Ottawa, Simon Fraser University, University of Toronto, York University, and CIDA, should avoid getting involved with high-profile public relations campaigns conducted by resource extraction companies.
The Continental Day of Action Against Mega Resource Extraction is being organized by the Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network (LACSN). Coordinated actions will range from rallies, demonstrations, and letter writing campaigns to protests in front of mining corporate offices and Canadian embassies.