On May 18, 2000, International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew responded to the recommendations of a Parliamentary review of the Export Development Act, which is the Act governing the Export Development Corporation (EDC). According to Pettigrew, "The way the Corporation addresses these issues will be made more transparent to ensure ongoing public confidence in its operations."
The Minister's response states that:
- The need for an EDC ombudsman will be studied.
- EDC will conduct public consultations beginning later this month on its Information Disclosure Framework.
- The Auditor General will examine the adequacy of EDC's environmental framework this year. The government will design a statutory authority within 12 months for an ongoing environmental audit of EDC by the Auditor General.
- EDC will conduct public consultations on its environmental review framework on a regular basis.
- The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) will ensure that EDC is fully apprised of human rights issues in specific countries, and able to assess the human rights impacts of specific activities.
- The government will review its existing debt forgiveness policy so that EDC shares in the cost of official debt rescheduling.
- Options will be assessed to ensure that EDC gives due regard to Canadian benefits and to Canadian obligations under international agreements.
The full report is available from DFAIT's web site at http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/english/news/public.htm or here below.
EDC has been under constant attack from human rights, labour, social justice and environmental organisations for its lack of accountability and poor environmental record. On April 3, MiningWatch was one of four NGOs that participated in the release of Reckless Lending: How Canada's Export Development Corporation Puts People and the Environment at Risk.
The report describes ten environmental and human rights disasters that received funding from the EDC, including two mining projects: Placer Dome's Marcopper Mine in the Philippines and the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea.
The NGO Working Group on the Export Development Corporation — of which MiningWatch Canada is a member — issued a policy paper in November 1999.