Hon. Stockwell Day
Minister of International Trade
Hon. Lawrence Cannon
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hon. Lisa Raitt
Minister of Natural Resources
Hon. Beverley Oda
Minister of International Cooperation
November 3, 2009
Re: Withdrawal of civil servants from corporate accountability conference
Dear Ministers Day, Cannon, Raitt and Oda:
On October 29, civil servants from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency suddenly withdrew their participation from a conference jointly organized by the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) and the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), which is taking place today. These civil servants withdrew not only as speakers on each of the conference’s panels, but also as registered participants.
Presentation regarding Bill C-300 - An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries
Karyn Keenan, Program Officer, Halifax Initiative
October 22, 2009
The Halifax Initiative is a coalition of human rights, environmental, faith-based, development and labour organizations. Our objective is to transform public international financial institutions to achieve poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and the full realization of universal human rights.
My work focuses on the operations of public institutions that provide support to the private sector, in particular the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group and Export Development Canada. The latter, a Crown corporation, is Canada’s export credit agency and will be the focus of my comments this morning.
The World Bank and other donors have vowed to fight corruption, which undermines development and democracy. Yet their focus is consistently only on corrupt acts perpetrated by poor country governments, when it actually takes two to tango.
"There is always somebody who pays, and international business is generally the main source of corruption", said none other than the billionaire financier, George Soros.
We need your help to make Export Development Canada (EDC) more transparent!!
CALL TO ACTION
EDC continues to withhold key environmental information about the projects it supports, citing reasons of commercial confidentiality. When it does disclose information prior to supporting a project, this can be from one day to two weeks prior to signing the cheque.
"Sacred Land, Scarred Land" - a video, backgrounder, and action sheet about 4 projects involving Canadian companies and the impacts on communities, with a particular focus on the violation of land rights. Two of the projects highlighted received support from Export Development Canada. Video available for $10. (Video - 2000)
In 1999, Amnesty International raised alarms about the killing of four indigenous people protesting a hydroelectric dam in Colombia that has devastated their food source and, if completed, would flood most of their land.
In 1998, an accident at a mine in Kyrgystan resulted in two tons of cyanide entering a river. A lack of an emergency response plan worsened the disaster, leaving two people dead and over 600 hospitalized.
NGOs applaud adoption of “better aid bill”
Two and a half years after it was first introduced, and after a tense year sitting in the Senate for its final reading, Bill C-293 or the “better aid bill” was finally unanimously approved in Parliament on May 9 to loud NGO approval. It received royal assent yesterday, May 29, which now makes it law.