OTTAWA, Nov. 17 /CNW/ - The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) urged the Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee of the House of Commons to reject a private member's bill because it would do nothing to improve conditions for citizens of developing countries. Further, it would harm Canada's mineral industry and its reputation as an ethical participant in the economic development that poor countries need to improve their citizens' lives.
Bill C-300 does a disservice to developing countries
"Bill C-300 is naive and misguided grandstanding that would be a disservice to the developing countries it aims to help as well as to Canada's mineral industry which is recognized around the world as a welcome participant in advancing economic development," said PDAC Executive Director Tony Andrews. "Improving social and environmental responsibility is a goal we share with the committee and with other Canadians but if our politicians decide to insert themselves uninvited into the internal affairs of developing countries, Canada will do more harm than good."
Canadian government should help with capacity building in developing
"A number of less developed countries do need help from Canada to build capacity for implementing and monitoring appropriate social and environmental standards to govern corporate behaviour of all kinds. Indeed, the federal government's CSR strategy, announced earlier this year, intends to do just that," Andrews said. "Unfortunately, this bill, if passed, will do nothing to advance that cause. Instead it will waste significant resources on activities that will not improve either government or companies' responses."
Canada's world leadership in the mineral industry put at risk
The PDAC's presentation to the committee Tuesday morning said it puts Canadian companies at risk of facing complaints filed against them by any number of anti-mining protest groups. The 10-page bill (by comparison the Bank Act is 674 pages) also fails to provide even minimal levels of procedural fairness for Canadian companies. "Canada can be proud of its world leadership in the mineral industry but unfortunately some of our elected officials are heedlessly ignoring the economic and ethical advances Canadian companies contribute in the countries in which they operate."
"Bill C-300 will hamstring the Canadian government's ability to promote Canadian values abroad by interfering with the exclusive jurisdiction of developing countries," Robert Wisner, the PDAC's international law advisor, told the committee.
The PDAC's own corporate social responsibility initiative, e3 Plus: A framework for responsible exploration was introduced in March 2009 after more than two years of development involving input from and consultation with 300 representatives from governments, Aboriginal peoples, NGOs, academia, the financial community and the mineral industry.
About the PDAC (www.pdac.ca)
The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada is a national association representing the mineral exploration and development industry. Its 7,000 individual and corporate members are involved in the exploration, discovery and development of new mines and new wealth in Canada and around the world. The association hosts the world's largest annual mineral industry convention with participants from more than 100 countries. The 2010 convention will be held from March 7-10, in Toronto.
SOURCE Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada
For further information: For further information: Saley Lawton, Director, Communications, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, (416) 362-1969, ext. 225, firstname.lastname@example.org; Tony Andrews, Executive Director, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, Cell: (647) 409-1570, email@example.com; Robert Wisner, Partner, McMillan LLP, Tel: (416) 865-7127, firstname.lastname@example.org