My speech on mining justice

Private Member's Bill would ensure Canadian standards for mining companies operating abroad

My colleague, Peter Julian (NDP - New Westminster - Burnaby) introduced Bill C-331:  An Act to mend the Federal Courts Act (international promotion and protection of human rights), legislation that would allow those working for, or affected by the operations of Canadian mining companies operating abroad to take advantage of our legal system to enforce codes of conduct, worker protection and environmental standards Canadians would expect at home.

Too often Canadian firms have been found to be taking advantage of lax environmental rules or underwhelming labour protections to exploit communities and workers in countries like Eritrea or Guatemala, to name a couple of examples, where these companies are extracting fat profits from mining operations going after precious resources.  The conduct of some firms - not all - tarnishes Canada's reputation, but more importantly, exports practices we would not tolerate at home to countries without the means to rein them in. 

We should help improve the lives and protect the rights of citizens in other countries by insisting that they enjoy the same protections Canadians expect against some of these intolerable abuses.

Our government can and must act.