Bill c300

Bill C-300, “Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas Corporations in Developing Countries” attempted to regulate Canadian extractive companies that receive funding, aid, support, etc. from Export Development Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. It was recently rejected by a slim margin in the Canadian Parliament.

The website Mining Watch Canada writes that Bill C-300 was “our best chance to assure the accountability of our government to us, as taxpayers and citizens, by assuring that government financial and political support will not be provided to companies that breach human rights and environmental standards.”

Does this mean to suggest that government financial and political support should be provided to companies that do not breach human rights and environmental standards?

Export Development Canada states on its website that “EDC does not provide subsidies to Canadian companies.” It also says that its job is “To support and develop, directly or indirectly, Canada’s export trade and Canadian capacity to engage in that trade and to respond international business opportunities.” In other words, EDC provides subsidies to Canadian companies.

In 2008 EDC supplied Canadian mining companies with almost $14 billion worth of “business volume”, the majority of it insurance.

Would it not be simpler to end public funding and support to mining companies? That would right there and then resolve the issue of deciding which companies should receive funding, under what circumstances, what policies they should follow, and whether or not they violate human rights.

Bringing up human rights seems a bit hypocritical too given that government funding is the topic. Mining companies are being told that they must abide by a certain standard of behaviour in order to receive the government’s stolen blood money. The government takes money from peaceful individuals under the threat of violence and then, when creating a criteria for handing out this money to its friends in the mining industry, decides to mention human rights and ethical behaviour.

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