URGENT ACTION: Bill C-300 – Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas Corporations in Developing Countries

Jamie Kneen Communications and Outreach Coordinator responsible for: strategic research, social media, and public engagement; our Africa program, environmental assessment, and uranium mining.

Bill C-300, An Act Respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas Corporations in Developing Countries, represents the best chance we have as Canadians to assure that Canadian extractive companies follow human rights and environmental best practices when they operate overseas. It also represents our best chance to assure the accountability of our government to us, as taxpayers and citizens, by assuring that government financial and political support will not be provided to companies that breach human rights and environmental standards.

Show your support for Bill C-300.

Write to your MP and ask your MP to support Bill C-300. Sample letters below.

Background

Bill C-300 is a private members bill introduced by Liberal MP John McKay on February 9, 2009. Bill C-300 implements a number of key recommendations from the March 2007 Final Report of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Roundtables.The recommendations reflect the consensus of a multi-stakeholder advisory group that had representatives from industry and civil society groups including MiningWatch Canada.

In March 2009 the Canadian Government announced their response to the Roundtables' final report. The Government’s response is woefully inadequate as it contains no effective complaints mechanism and no possibility of sanctions for companies not complying with voluntary guidelines.

Bill C-300 remedies these flaws. On April 22, 2009 Bill C-300 narrowly passed a vote in the House of Commons and is now being debated in the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. The voting record can be viewed here.

Bill C-300

  • Would regulate the relationship between Canadian government agencies (Export Development Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and the Canadian Pension Plan) and Canadian extractive companies operating in developing countries.
  • Would create eligibility criteria (“guidelines that articulate corporate accountability standards”) for political and financial support that is provided to Canadian extractive companies by Export Development Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and the Canadian Pension Plan.
  • Would require that “guidelines that articulate corporate accountability standards” include the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards, related guidance notes, and Environmental Health and Safety General Guidelines; the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights; “human rights provisions that ensure corporations operate in a manner that is consistent with international human rights standards; and any other standard consistent with international human rights standards.”
  • Would create a complaints mechanism where complaints are filed with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. If accepted, the complaint would lead to an investigation of a company’s compliance with the guidelines and a public report on findings within eight months of receipt of the complaint. A company may become ineligible for government support for as long as it is out of compliance with the guidelines.

WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT!

1. Follow this link to find your local MPs riding office and contact info (you can send your letter by e-mail).

2. See sample letter below. Add your own personal experiences, concerns, comments or observations to the letter if you like.

3. Mail, fax or email the letter to your MP

It is very important that you copy Kevin Sorenson, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, John McKay, who tabled Bill C-300, and Angela Crandall, the clerk of the committee, so that all committee members will receive a copy of your letter and know your opinion.

Because of his influential position within the Liberal Party and his poor track record on C-300 we think that MP Bob Rae deserves some special attention. If you are in his riding please see the second sample letter specific to him.

Date

Name of your local MP

Address of your local MP

Dear Mr./Ms. ____________:

SUPPORT BILL C-300 ON CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY

As your constituent, I am writing to let you know that I strongly support Bill C-300, an Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries, which will be taken up again when parliament resumes in the fall.I am writing to urge you to cast your vote in favour of this bill.

As a Canadian, I am appalled by regular reports that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies are involved in human rights and environmental violations around the world and by the fact that these companies often receive the direct support of the Canadian Government. The current government’s response to these concerns, which have been raised by many Canadians, is its “Building the Canadian Advantage” strategy. This voluntary approach is inadequate.

Bill C-300 responds to the need for a stronger regulatory framework to hold Canadian mining, oil and gas companies accountable, in Canada, for human rights and environmental violations overseas. Bill C-300 has garnered a huge amount of support across the country. It is supported by Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability (CNCA), an organization which includes Amnesty International Canada, the United Church of Canada, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, Friends of the Earth, the Steelworkers Humanity Fund, the Canadian Labour Congress, KAIROS Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, MiningWatch Canada and many other organizations. Bill C-300 has my support as well.

As my elected MP, I urge you to stand firm for environmental and human rights by supporting Bill C-300.

I would like to thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to hearing from you regarding your support for Bill C-300.

Yours truly,

Your name

Your address, telephone or email address

cc:
Kevin Sorenson, Chair, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, SorenK@parl.gc.ca
John MacKay, MP. Liberal Party of Canada, MckayJ@parl.gc.ca
Angela Crandall, Clerk, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, faae@parl.gc.ca

Bob Rae

Bob Rae has a very disappointing record on Bill C-300!

  • He abstained when Bill C-300 came up for a vote in the house on April 22, 2009.
  • He was cynical and unsupportive during the first committee hearing on Bill C-300 on May 25, 2009,

If you are a constituent in Bob Rae’s riding, let Bob Rae know you support Bill C-300 and will be listening to his statements in committee and watching how he votes on the Bill.

See sample letter below.

Date

Bob Rae, MP
514 Parliament Street
Toronto, Ontario
M4X 1P4

Dear Mr. Rae:

SUPPORT BILL C-300 ON CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY

As your constituent, I am writing to let you know that I strongly support Bill C-300, an Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries, which will be taken up again when parliament resumes in the fall. I am writing to urge you to cast your vote in favour of this bill. I have been very disappointed to find that you did not vote in favour of Bill C-300 when it came up for a vote in the house on April 22nd and I was also disturbed by your lack of support for of the Bill in the committee hearing of May 25th.

You cannot sit on the fence on this one.

I want to see your active support for Bill C-300.

As a Canadian, I am appalled by regular reports that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies are involved in human rights and environmental violations around the world and by the fact that these companies often receive the direct support of the Canadian Government.

The current government’s response to these concerns, which have been raised by many Canadians, is its “Building the Canadian Advantage” strategy. This voluntary approach is inadequate.

Bill C-300 responds to the need for a stronger regulatory framework to hold Canadian mining, oil and gas companies accountable, in Canada, for human rights and environmental violations overseas. Bill C-300 has garnered a huge amount of support across the country. It is supported by Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability (CNCA), an organization which includes Amnesty International Canada, the United Church of Canada, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, Friends of the Earth, the Steelworkers Humanity Fund, the Canadian Labour Congress, KAIROS/Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, MiningWatch Canada and many other organizations. Bill C-300 has my support as well.

As my elected MP, I urge you to stand firm for environmental and human rights by supporting Bill C-300.I would like to thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to hearing from you regarding your support for Bill C-300.

Yours truly,

Your name

Your address, telephone or email address

cc:
Kevin Sorenson, Chair, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, SorenK@parl.gc.ca
John MacKay, MP. Liberal Party of Canada, MckayJ@parl.gc.ca
Angela Crandall, Clerk, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, faae@parl.gc.ca