OTTAWA – Next week, Members of Parliament will vote on Private Member’s Bill C-300 (An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries).
Bill C-300 deals with corporate accountability for mining companies beyond our borders. The bill has been criticized by experts who say the bill is weaker than the current system, and raises serious constitutional concerns. It will jeopardize Canadian mining companies and will hinder their ability to compete globally.
“We all agree with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR),” said MP Rickford. “That is why the Government of Canada, in October 2009 appointed an independent CSR Counsellor to make sure that Canadian mining, oil, and gas companies meet their social and environmental responsibilities when operating abroad.”
Bill C-300 will allow anyone to submit a complaint against a Canadian mining company with little or no reason. The bill has the same penalties as Canada’s current system if a complaint is legitimate, penalties include Export Development Canada (EDC) withdrawing financial support, as well as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP)removing their investment in that mining company. There is no clause in the bill giving EDC or CPP flexibility, so they could lose millions of taxpayer dollars. However, under Bill C-300, if a complaint is false, there would be no protection for Canadian companies. This bill would have disastrous consequences for Canadian mining companies. This could also cause some companies to move their corporate operations to outside of Canada.
“Opposition MPs should not be playing politics with Canadian mining jobs. Everyone supports accountability for Canadian companies, but the opposition pretends that Bill C-300 is about making sure they are accountable. We already have a system in place to ensure that, and the existing system is better than what Bill C-300 is proposing; it’s independent from partisan political interference,” continued Mr. Rickford. “Bill C-300 won’t help accountability or human rights. It will hurt mining communities, the mining sector and cost Canadians their jobs.”
“As Members of Parliament we are tasked by Canadians to carefully consider the legislation we vote on. Bill C-300 is clearly a badly written bill. It is irresponsible to vote in support of the bill, just because it looks good politically. We have to look at the implications of the bill. I support Corporate Social Responsibility. I do not support Bill C-300 because it will hurt Canadian mining and will not help Corporate Social Responsibility,” concluded Mr. Rickford.