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Advocating for Mining Justice

JIPC

Since its beginning 10 years ago, JPIC (Justice Peace and Integrity of the Creation) has been coordinating the Congrégation de Notre-Dame Visitation Province advocacy on mining and extractive sector justice. See below for a summary of our past work.  Many will remember our extensive work to support MP John McKay’s Bill C-300 for mining justice,that was narrowly defeated in the House of Commons in the fall of 2010. Following the failure of the Bill to pass, mining justice was severely weakened by the years of the Harper government. Justin Trudeau made promises during the election campaign to re-introduce legislation for strong ethical practices for Canadian mining companies operating overseas.

We have a new opportunity, right now, to help make this happen. Sources have confirmed that the Liberal government will be creating an extractive sector Ombudsperson in early 2017.  It is important that we remind the Minister and Prime Minister of the components that are needed to make this position truly independent and effective for those seeking justice from the actions of Canadian extractive companies.

The time to act is now!

If you have 5 minutes:

Sign on to KAIROS’s form message to Minister Champagne https://secure.kairoscanada.org/node/6

If you have 10 minutes:

Copy the sample e-mail message below to send to your MP, the Minister & Prime Minister

If you have more time:

Between now and January 30, 2017, please meet/phone/write your MP, to express your deep concerns about the Canadian extractive sector and your view that we need real change, a much stronger position than the ombudsperson that we already have. Sample letter is below. 

In your communications, emphasize:

- independence (from government, and from undue influence by big business – selection and appointment process is important!)

- legal power and mandate to investigate (this requires resources)

- public reporting on process, findings,  recommendations (to Canadian government and companies, including on remedy) and on follow-up

- orientation to protect human rights and correct power imbalances


CND Advocacy on Mining Justice

We have frequently collaborated with Congregation of Notre Dame Sisters in Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Region and NGOs in Central America. Most recently our main partnership has been with Development & Peace and KAIROS through the Open for Justice Campaign.  http://cnca-rcrce.ca/campaigns-justice/

Together we are asking for two new accountability mechanisms in Canada:

  • an effective, independent, human rights ombudsperson for those affected by Canadian extractive companies operating overseas.
  • access to Canadian courts for those seeking justice or reparations for damages from the bad practices of Canadian mining companies

Over the past decade sisters and associates of the Visitation Province of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame were part of the major campaign in 2010 to contact MP’s to vote in favour of Bill C-300, participated in the Development & Peace rally on Parliament Hill in favour of a Mining Ombudsperson in 2014 and sent numerous messages to the government advocating for action on mining justice and supporting groups of individuals from Central America who have been challenging Canadian courts to hear their grievances. See for example, https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2016/06/20/the-mayans-vs-the-mine.html.

Today we are part of the Open for Justice Campaign with other religious communities, church organizations and NGOs.  Before the last federal election, more than 100,000 Canadians wrote to their local Members of Parliament asking for Canada to be “Open for Justice.” Heeding this call, four out of the five major political parties committed to creating an extractive sector Ombudsperson, including the Liberal Party that formed government in October 2015.

Since the election, Open for Justice campaigners have been meeting with MPs and senior government officials to outline how the Liberal government can follow through on its election promise and create an Ombudsperson office. International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne has been considering changes to the government’s approach to corporate social responsibility and the extractive sector. It is believed that he will be taking action in early 2017. 

The leaders of Open for Justice are:

Emily Dwyer, Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability coordinator@cnca-rcrce.ca

Fiona Koza, Amnesty International Canada fkoza@amnesty.ca

Elana Wright, Development and Peace ewright@devp.org

Jean Symes, Inter Pares jls@interpares.ca

Jackie McVicar, United for Mining Justice


Why Take Action?

Canada, as home to the majority of the world’s mining and mineral exploration companies, has a duty to be a leader in corporate accountability in the extractive sector. Unfortunately, Canadian law has not kept pace with the globalization of the mining industry. Today Canadian mining companies operate in over 100 countries around the world. Yet when people in other countries are harmed by Canadian corporate activity, they cannot access justice in Canada.


Sample E-mail

Francois-Philippe.Champagne@parl.gc.ca

Justin.treadeau@parl.gc.ca

Dear Minister Champagne,

I am writing to urge you to create a Human Rights Ombudsperson for Canada’s international extractive sector, a commitment made by the Liberal party during the 2015 election campaign. I strongly encourage you to use the draft model legislation prepared by the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (www.cnca-rcrce.ca) as a blueprint for the Human Rights Ombudsperson. The model bill would create an office that investigates human rights allegations and recommends remedial action, is independent of political or corporate influence, and is accountable to Canadians through public reporting. A Human Rights Ombudsperson will help protect human rights internationally and improve the performance and reputation of Canada’s extractive sector.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,


Sample Letter

The Hon. François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of International Trade
Government of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Champagne,

I am writing to urge you to create a Human Rights Ombudsperson for Canada’s international extractive sector, a commitment made by the Liberal party during the 2015 election campaign. It has been over a year since the election and I am very concerned that there has been no action taken on this urgent matter.

I strongly encourage you to use the draft model legislation prepared by the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (www.cnca-rcrce.ca) as a blueprint for the Human Rights Ombudsperson. The model bill would create an office that investigates human rights allegations and recommends remedial action, is independent of political or corporate influence, and is accountable to Canadians through public reporting. A Human Rights Ombudsperson will help protect human rights internationally and improve the performance and reputation of Canada’s extractive sector.

As members of a Roman Catholic Community of Women, we have significant and varied experience working with and supporting those who are suffering as a result of actions of Canadian mining companies overseas.  We have witnessed the courage of families who are caring for their land and working towards a better future, but we have also witnessed their distress and despair as they encounter obstacles and struggle with few resources.  Access to an effective, independent Ombudsperson would greatly aid them in securing their dignity and access to justice.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

cc:  Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister

Your Member of Parliament

 

 

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