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Letter blasts Harper government for killing Bill C-300, a law that would have held Canadian mining companies accountable for human rights and environmental abuses abroad.

Ottawa (24 Nov. 2010) - A letter has been signed by 36 civil society organizations condemning the Harper government’s failure to pass Bill C-300, a law that would have held Canadian mining companies accountable for overseas violations of human rights and environmental standards.

The Corporate Accountability of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries Act was introduced by Liberal MP John McKay in February, 2009.

About a month ago – on Oct. 27 – the bill was defeated in the Commons by a margin of 140-134. Had it passed, the proposed law would have required the withdrawal of public funds and political support from Canadian companies violating human rights and environmental standards abroad.

Approximately 75% of the world’s exploration and mining companies are headquartered in Canada. A report commissioned by Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada points out that some of the worst offenders internationally are Canadian companies.

At the end of November, a team of Canadian delegates from the Council of Canadians, the Polaris Institute and the Public Service Alliance of Canada is scheduled to deliver a copy of the letter to the community of San Luis Potosi in Mexico where residents have been affected by the actions of the Canadian mining company New Gold Inc.

The letter has also been sent to other affected international communities through various organizations. Copies have given to Canadian MPs as well.

The letter is addressed to “communities affected by Canadian mining operations.” It highlights Canada’s repeated failures “to join other countries in advancing international human rights and environmental norms.”

NUPGE The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
More information:
• For copies of the letter contact Dylan Penner at the Council of Canadians: 613-795-8685 or