In 2013, more than half of the world’s publicly listed exploration and mining companies were headquartered in Canada . In 2014, they accounted for $42 billion of Canada’s total GDP . Global liberalization of the mining industry has facilitated the unhampered entry of Canada’s mining companies into different resource-rich countries worldwide. It is estimated that some 1,500 Canadian mining companies operate in at least 8,000 locations in more than 100 countries worldwide.
In each of the countries where these Canadian mining companies operate,plunder, destruction and pollution of vital ecosystems, as well as wanton violation of human rights, national sovereignty and the right to national development follow suit. This is especially true for countries where governments and state military armed forces work in collusion with foreign mining TNCs to facilitate their entry and operations. Most notable cases are the Porgera Mine operated by Barrick Gold in Papua New Ginea, Anvil Mining in Congo, and Marcopper-PlacerdomeMiningc in the Philippines. Where governments stand up with their people and resist mining, they are slapped with expensive lawsuits as what happened with Oceanagold’s $315-million suit against El Salvador.
In Canada, civil society organizations, support networks and Church groups launched the Open Justice campaign in 2013 to demand accountability from Canadian mining companies for their actions abroad. One of the campaign’s objectives is the creation of an Ombudsman for the extractives sector who can independently investigate complaints against Canadian corporations operating abroad.
This August, civil society organizations may be coming from all over the world for the World Social Forum (WSF) to be held in Montreal, Canada. This can be a valuable opportunity to also highlight the issue of the impacts of Canadian mining in different countries in the world and generate international support and coordinated actions for the establishment of independent venues of redress for communities affected by Canadian mining operations.
It is in this context that it is proposed that a campaign be organized within or parallel with the WSF to bring three to fivepeoples’ campaigns for justice vis a vis Canadian mining companies as well as gather renewed support to make Canada Open for Justice.
The gathering aims to :
1. Highlight peoples’ issues aroundthe harms done by Canadian mining operations abroad,to the Canadian public,to the Canadian government, and to the world and gather support for their respective campaigns for justice
2. Link up the country campaigns with Canadian people’s calls to for Canada to Open for Justice
3. Strengthen regional and international coordination to sustain support for peoples’ campaigns against Canadian mining
4. Organize bilateral linkages between country campaigns and Canadian communities to help sustain the quest for justice in Canada for a minimum of one year.