OTTAWA, Oct. 28 /CNW/ - The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability
(CNCA) deeply regrets the defeat of Private Member's Bill C-300, The
Responsible Mining Bill, at third and final reading in the House of
Commons. The Bill lost by a narrow margin of 140 to 134.
The CNCA is a network of 23 national civil society organizations
concerned with the impact of Canadian extractive industries operating
"This is a lost opportunity. Heavy lobbying and some serious
misinformation put out by the mining industry chipped away at support
for what was a modest but important step toward corporate
accountability," said Catherine Coumans of Mining Watch Canada.
The Bill received a groundswell of support in Canada and around the
world, demonstrating a strong desire for measures to improve corporate
accountability. Claire Doran, director of education at Development and
Peace, said, "Half a million Canadians have written to the Prime
Minister calling for measures to ensure that Canadian companies are
held accountable in Canada for their overseas operations."
"Passing C-300 would have boosted Canada's national reputation and
demonstrated that we take human rights seriously," said Alex Neve,
Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.
Hundreds of testimonies and letters from non-government organizations
and affected communities throughout the world have revealed major human
rights violations committed by Canadian extractive companies operating
overseas. Just last week, 40 organizations in Latin America sent a
joint letter of support for the legislation, urging its passage.
Canada's main mining union also deplored the Bill's defeat. Ken Neumann,
United Steelworkers National Director for Canada, said, "Companies shouldn't operate abroad with impunity. This Bill would have brought formal checks and balances to mining companies'
treatment of workers, communities, and the environment."
The 2006 National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility in the
Extractive Industries, a landmark process in which the mining industry
and civil society organizations participated, addressed these issues
and came to unprecedented consensus and recommendations.
According to Gerry Barr, President-CEO of the Canadian Council for
International Cooperation, "The Bill's defeat is a disappointment, but
given the very close outcome of the vote, we've made significant gain.
We will continue to work hard to push for measures for greater
corporate accountability and human rights."
SOURCE CANADIAN NETWORK ON CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY
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