OTTAWA — The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) urged the Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee of the House of Commons to reject a private member's bill because it would do nothing to improve conditions for citizens of developing countries. Further, it would harm Canada's mineral industry and its reputation as an ethical participant in the economic development that poor countries need to improve their citizens' lives.
The bill seeks to force corporate accountability for their activities on Canadian extractive industries working in developing countries. Those that do not comply will have Canadian political and financial support withdrawn.
"Bill C-300 is naive and misguided grandstanding that would be a disservice to the developing countries it aims to help as well as to Canada's mineral industry which is recognized around the world as a welcome participant in advancing economic development," said PDAC executive director Tony Andrews. "Improving social and environmental responsibility is a goal we share with the committee and with other Canadians, but if our politicians decide to insert themselves uninvited into the internal affairs of developing countries, Canada will do more harm than good.
"A number of less developed countries do need help from Canada to build capacity for implementing and monitoring appropriate social and environmental standards to govern corporate behaviour of all kinds. Indeed, the federal government's CSR strategy, announced earlier this year, intends to do just that," he said. "Unfortunately, this bill, if passed, will do nothing to advance that cause. Instead it will waste significant resources on activities that will not improve either government or companies' responses."
The PDAC's own corporate social responsibility initiative, e3 Plus: A Framework for Responsible Exploration, was introduced in March 2009 after more than two years of development involving input from and consultation with 300 representatives from governments, Aboriginal peoples, NGOs, academia, the financial community and the mineral industry. It may be read in detail at www.PDAC.com.