This week in news…

The House of Commons went back to work in Ottawa this week, after Summer break.

I had contacted my MP last week to ask that he support Bill C-300.  It’s an accountability act for mining corporations over-seas, particularly in ‘developing’ countries.

A part of my MP’s response to me – which I suspect was a response to any letter asking about Bill C-300 (since I know someone else who got the same response) – was: “Bill C-300 is the first item to debated in the House on Monday morning.  Look forward to hearing if there are any changes since in its present form, I am unable to support Bill C-300 because certain provisions have the potential of hurting our own Canadian companies by opening the door to punitive lawsuits meant to forward the political or competitive agendas of others without guaranteeing improved conditions for the people of the host country.”

I wonder about that statement: “improved conditions for the people of the host country.”  What conditions need improving?  Canadian companies have the ability to go in, take resources, and leave – no long-term consequences.  Is it about making the ‘conditions’ more lucrative for our companies? Is that all that matters?  What about the cost to local people and the planet?

On Monday, John McKay, Liberal MP who brought the bill forward, proposed a few amendments to it.  According to Amnesty International‘s website, the Bill is expected to have its second hour of debate on October 26th, and the vote is expected to occur shortly afterwards, around October 27th or November 3rd.

It seems to me that we need to be making strides to look out for the well-being of our global neighbours.  If our main concern is profit for Canadian companies, what happens to peoples’ health in those communities where resource-extracting is taking place?  What happens to the environment?  Is there a care for the long-term effects of our Canadian mining companies in those ‘far-away places’?

With yesterday as International Day of Prayer for Peace (or International Day of Peace, recognized by the UN), it seems to me that care for humanity and the earth – the common strands that run through all cultures and societies everywhere – would be significant steps in the direction of peace.

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Posted on September 22, 2010, in Tyler's occasional web log. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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