Urgent Action: Support legislation to impose standards on Canadian government support for mining companies operating internationally

(Update) Bill C-300 - a "responsible mining bill" - goes to a vote in the House of Commons in September or October. See a video on what it's about and who's supporting it - and send a sample letter of support to join in promoting it.

Bill C-300: Hope for the future from Film Varmint on Vimeo.

(Update) Bill C-300 goes to a vote in the House of Commons in September or October.
Your letters of support can enhance its chances of becoming law and pressuring Canadian mining companies to live up to international human rights and labour standards and environmental best practices when they operate overseas, under threat of losing government financial and political support if they do not achieve this.

See Sample letter to Your MP and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff below.

Background:

Bill C-300 is a private member’s bill introduced by Liberal MP John McKay on February 9, 2009. Bill C-300 implements a number of key recommendations from the March 2007 Final Report of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Roundtables. The recommendations reflected the consensus of a multi-stakeholder advisory group that had representatives from industry and civil society groups including MiningWatch Canada.

If passed, Bill C-300 will:

  • put in place human rights, labour, and environmental standards that Canadian extractive companies receiving government support must live up to when they operate in developing countries;
  • create a complaints mechanism that will allow members of affected communities abroad, or Canadians, to file complaints against companies that are not living up to those standards;
  • create a possible sanction for companies that are found to be out of compliance with the standards, in the form of loss of government financial and political support.

Download our 1 page Fact Sheet on C-300

For individual Canadians: Write to your Member of Parliament

Use this link to find your MP and his/her contact information by entering your postal code:  click here.

Sample letter:

To: (name of your MP)
cc: Honourable Michael Ignatieff at: Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca
      Honourable John McKay at: mckayj8@parl.gc.ca

House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0A6
Canada

(Date)

Re: Support for Bill C-300 on Corporate Accountability

Dear (name of your MP),

I am writing to let you know that I strongly support Bill C-300, an Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries.

I am appalled by regular reports that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies are involved in human rights, labour, and environmental violations around the world and by the fact that these companies often receive financial and political support from the Canadian Government. Many countries in which our extractive companies operate do not have strong legal or regulatory systems to hold multi-nationals to account for human rights and environmental abuses. Capacity building efforts in these countries have not been able to close what the United Nations has called a "governance gap." And while some companies strive to meet high standards voluntarily, too many do not.

Bill C-300 responds to the urgent need for a stronger regulatory framework to hold Canadian mining, oil and gas companies accountable, in Canada, for human rights, labour, and environmental violations overseas. Bill C-300 has garnered support across the country and internationally. It is supported by the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability (CNCA), a coalition which includes prominent labour, ecumenical, environmental, social justice, and human rights organizations. Bill C-300 has my support as well.

I urge you, as my Member of Parliament, to support Bill C-300, recognizing that it reflects and responds to the recommendations made to the Government of Canada by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 2005.

Yours truly,

(your name and address)

__________________________________

For organizations: Write to the Honourable Michael Igniatieff and copy the Honourable John McKay

Model letter:

To: Honourable Michael Ignatieff
Copy: Honourable John McKay
Re: Support for Bill C-300, the Responsible Mining Bill

(Date)

Dear Mr Ignatieff,

On behalf of (name of organization), I am writing to let you know that our organization strongly supports Bill C-300, an Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries.

We are appalled by regular reports that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies are involved in human rights, labour, and environmental violations around the world and by the fact that these companies often receive financial and political support from the Canadian Government. Many countries in which our extractive companies operate do not have strong legal or regulatory systems to hold multi-nationals to account for human rights and environmental abuses. Capacity building efforts in these countries have not been able to close what the United Nations has called a "governance gap." And while some companies strive to meet high standards voluntarily, too many do not.

Bill C-300 responds to the urgent need for a stronger regulatory framework to hold Canadian mining, oil and gas companies accountable, in Canada, for human rights, labour, and environmental violations overseas. Bill C-300 has garnered support across Canada and internationally and (name of organization) is also adding their name to a long list of organizations that stand in solidarity to support this urgent and necessary bill.

(Name of organization) urges you to support Bill C-300, recognizing that it reflects and responds to the recommendations made to the Government of Canada by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 2005.

Sincerely,

Signature, name, title and address of organization

Supporters of C-300* (ASK MCKAY'S OFFICE TO ADD YOUR NAME TO THIS LIST!)

ACAT-CANADA
Africa Files
Amnesty International
Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network
Shawn Atleo, National Chief, Assembly of First Nations
Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC)
Canadian Labour Congress
Canada Tibet Committee
Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA)
Cause Canada
CEDHA
CoDevelopment Canada
Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine (CDHAL)
Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA)
Ecojustice Canada
Entraide Missionnaire
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Fredericton Peace Coalition
The Halifax Initiative
Horizons of Friendship
Inter Pares
KAIROS - Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
Make Poverty History
Maquila Solidarity Network
MiningWatch Canada
United Church of Canada
Results Canada
United Steelworkers
Maquila Solidarity Network
The Maritime Conference of the United Church of Canada
Mennonite Central Committee of Canada
North-South Institute
Public Service Alliance of Canada
Results Canada
Rights and Democracy
Social Justice Committee of Montreal
World Vision

* Source: http://www.johnmckaymp.on.ca/newsshow.asp?int_id=80590