Motion No. 1
That Bill C-300 be amended by replacing, in the English version, the long title on page 1 with the following:
An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas Corporations in Developing Countries”
Motion No. 2
That Bill C-300, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing lines 9 to 11 on page 1 with the following:
““corporation” means any company or legal person incorporated by or under an Act of Parliament or of any province, and includes holding or subsidiary companies of the corporation.”
Motion No. 3
That Bill C-300, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing, in the French version, lines 10 to 13 on page 1 with the following:
“Opérations de recherche, notamment par forage, de production, de rationalisation de l'exploitation, de transformation et de transport de ressources minérales, de pétrole ou de gaz, réalisées dans le territoire d'un”
Motion No. 4
That Bill C-300, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing lines 12 to 16 on page 1 with the following:
““developing countries” means countries classified as low income, lower middle income or upper middle income in the World Bank list of economies, as amended from time to time.”
Motion No. 5
That Bill C-300, in Clause 3, be amended by replacing, in the French version, line 34 on page 2 with the following:
“3. La présente loi vise à faire en sorte que les”
Motion No. 6
That Bill C-300, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing, in the English version, lines 3 and 4 on page 3 with the following:
“receive complaints regarding Canadian corporations engaged in mining, oil or gas activities”
Motion No. 7
That Bill C-300, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing lines 22 and 23 on page 3 with the following:
“ister who receives the complaint shall consider any relevant information provided by the corporation or the”
Motion No. 8
That Bill C-300, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing, in the English version, line 27 on page 3 with the following:
“that a corporation has contravened a guideline set”
Motion No. 9
That Bill C-300, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing line 32 on page 3 with the following:
“undertaken pursuant to this section, which shall include a determination regarding the corporation’s compliance with the guidelines set out in section 5 and the Ministers' basis for any finding, within eight”
Motion No. 10
That Bill C-300, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing lines 39 to 44 on page 3 with the following:
“(8) If a corporation is found by a Minister to have contravened a guideline referred to in section 5, the corporation shall have six months, from the date of publication of the Minister’s finding, to bring itself into compliance. During that period, no adverse steps resulting from that breach of compliance shall be taken against the corporation by Export Development Canada pursuant to section 10.2 of the Export Development Act or by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade pursuant to section 10 of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act.
(8.1) The Ministers shall publish in the Canada Gazette their findings regarding compliance with the guidelines within a period of 30 days after the conclusion of the grace period provided for in subsection (8).
(8.2) If, at the end of that grace period, the corporation remains in contravention of a guideline, as determined by the Ministers, the Ministers shall, within a period of 30 days, notify the President of Export Development Canada and the Chairperson of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board that the corporation’s mining, oil or gas activities are inconsistent with the guidelines referred to in section 5.
(8.3) If a corporation found to be in contravention of a guideline at the end of the grace period provided for in subsection (8) subsequently undertakes corrective actions, the corporation may request the Ministers to review the results of those actions and make a determination regarding compliance with the guidelines. The request shall be made in writing and shall include such information as is required to determine compliance with the guidelines.
(8.4) Subsections (3), (4), (6) and (7) apply to a request for review provided under subsection (8.3) as if it were a complaint.
(8.5) If the Ministers determine through a review that the corporation remains in contravention of a guideline, the Ministers shall notify the President of Export Development Canada and the Chairperson of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board that the corporation’s mining, oil or gas activities are inconsistent with the guidelines referred to in section 5.”
Motion No. 11
That Bill C-300, in Clause 4, be amended by adding after line 12 on page 4 the following:
“(11) Every investment manager who invests the assets of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board pursuant to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act shall take into account the results of examinations and reviews undertaken pursuant to this section.”
Motion No. 12
That Bill C-300, in Clause 5, be amended by replacing line 17 on page 4 with the following:
“(2) The guidelines shall be substantially consistent with:”
Motion No. 13
That Bill C-300, in Clause 5, be amended by replacing lines 18 to 23 on page 4 with the following:
“(a) the IFC's
(i) Policy on Social and Environmental Sustainability,
(ii) Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability and Guidance Notes to those standards,
(iii) applicable Industry Sector Guidelines, and
(iv) General Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines;”
That Bill C-300, in Clause 8, be amended by replacing line 36 on page 5 with the following:
“enter into or renew a transaction”
Motion No. 15
That Bill C-300, in Clause 9, be amended by replacing line 17 on page 6 with the following:
“functions under subsection (2)”
That Bill C-300 be amended by deleting Clause 10.
Mr. Speaker, I welcome you back to the House. I am sorry to see you had to be put to so much work so quickly. I also welcome back my hon. colleagues on their return from summer recess.
It is an honour to be the lead speaker on Bill C-300 in the opening of this parliamentary session. Ironically, this bill has spent some 13 months in committee and over that time the arguments in favour of the bill have actually become stronger.
I would never, in my wildest imagination, have thought that this bill would attract so much attention. Certainly, I had not anticipated it would attract so much international intention. People are literally flying in from around the world to support Bill C-300 and are encouraging my colleagues to get behind this bill and do something for the world's poor, the world's indigenous and the world's people who cannot speak for themselves. They are literally taking their own time and spending their own resources to lobby colleagues and encourage them to support this bill.
Why would people spend their time and resources and have all of the international attention and domestic attention on what is quite a modest bill? My view is that it is due to Canada's reputation as a fair-minded democracy that adheres to the rules of law and where aggrieved persons can actually come and expect to receive redress. That may or may not be true in some of the countries from which these folks are coming.
I also believe that this bill has received so much attention because of the increasingly negative reputation of Canadian mining companies operating abroad that do things to people and communities which would never be tolerated in this country. I could literally take members on a world tour. Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and the Congo have enormous conflicts with Canadian mining companies. The allegations that have been put forward against these Canadian mining companies are very serious as witness after witness came before our committee and made these allegations.
It is never a good day for Canada when our own Governor General is surrounded by 200 Mexicans chanting “Canada, go home” because of the activities of the Canadian mining company operating in that country. It is not a good day when, as a witness described, he was chased out of a village because the villagers thought he was a Canadian supporting a Canadian mining company. He deemed it appropriate to take the flag that was on his backpack and black it out. It is not a good day for our reputation. It is not a good day when one of the people who was moderating a debate in which I was involved said that she had recently been in Guatemala where people would naturally ask her where she was from. When she would say that she was from Canada, they would say that in Guatemala it was better that she described herself as being from America.
Ironically, one of the great objections that the industry puts forward to the bill is that it would cause reputational damage. Reputational damage to whom? Is it reputational damage to Canada or is it reputational damage to the country?
We already know that a lot of activities of Canadian mining companies destabilize governments, put other Canadian companies at risk and put Canadians travelling abroad at risk. Why the objection to reputational risk? Why the fear of a quasi-judicial process where the impartial laws of natural justice actually prevail in a hearing? Why indeed?
It is hugely ironic to me that at the same they are complaining about the process, they are saying that they adhere to the IFC standards that are set out in the bill itself. They do not want to have a process to find out whether they actually adhere to the IFC standards because they say that they are already adhering to them. It seems a bit of an ironic argument.
Possibly, though, the real reason that the objection is so vociferous on the part of the companies and the government is that there possibly is something to be hidden.The allegations in the aforementioned countries are possibly true.
Sometimes where there is smoke there is just smoke but sometimes where there is smoke there is an actual fire. Did witness after witness really tell the truth about murder, rape, environmental degradation, officials being bought and paid for and paramilitaries enforcing the so-called companies? With all of those witnesses, was that just smoke and mirrors?
Possibly there is some truth and the companies do not want anyone, let alone a government official, a minister of the crown or the people of Canada, actually taking evidence, having a look, listening to arguments and making a finding one way or another, good or bad. Not only do the companies not want anything resembling a fair and impartial inquiry, they do not want any sanctions. They want to exist in a sanction-free environment. They say that the sanctions are too draconian.
What are the sanctions? The sanctions are that they will not get support from the Export Development Corporation of Canada. They will not get support from the Canada pension plan. The Canada pension plan will not be allowed to buy shares on the stock exchange. They will not get consular support. They will not get the promotional activities that our consuls general provide right around the world to Canadians operating abroad. In other words, no taxpayers' money, no pensioners' money and no parties.
That is three rather modest teeth and I am proposing pulling half a tooth on one of these amendments because we took the view of the Canada pension plan that there would be a requirement to amend the Canada pension plan, which would require provincial consent. My thought was that if the Minister of Finance could not get his own provincial counterparts to make much needed amendments to the Canada pension plan, what hope would I have of getting amendments? Therefore, we have modified that objection somewhat.
Then there is the full argument about extraterritoriality. This is just plain nonsense. This bill is about accountability for taxpayers' hard-earned money and how it is used, not where it is used. Like foreign aid, Canada has expectations and the absolute right to withdraw its money at any time and in any place. So also does EDC and the Canada pension plan. Canada retains the right to invest abroad based on its own set of laws and guidelines. It has the right to invest and it has the right to divest.
The other proposed amendment of significance is whereby the company would be given a period of time to rectify its non-compliance. Notwithstanding what the companies say and its handmaiden, the government, I would much prefer compliance over non-compliance. I prefer honourable and responsible mining over no mining at all.
These are the objections: the companies are too draconian, they will hurt our reputation and they will leave Canada in droves. To go where? To go to the United States, the most litigious nation on earth? To go where the alien tort claims act is? To go where Senator Lugar's bill is, which now requires that Canadian mining companies wishing to list their shares on the New York Stock Exchange must tell the department how much money they are giving governments and government officials? It is an attempt at accountability and transparency, which speaks well for our American friends but does not speak well for us.
Will they go to Great Britain, which is another great place? It is actually proposing a more robust version of Bill C-300. The European Union has very high standards of corporate social responsibility. I doubt the companies will go to Russia or China. The only place they may possibly go is to Switzerland. When companies go to Switzerland, they generally want to hide something. If they are going to Switzerland, fine, Lord love them, but they are not going to take Canadian taxpayers' money or pensioners' money with them.
This really is a modest bill. It has run into a virtual tsunami of objections from the industry and the government. Government members may face clear and overwhelming testimony from those who have chosen to turn their backs on the poor, the helpless and the aboriginal. By voting against this bill, they embrace the status quo. If this bill does not pass, we will have failed vulnerable people and struggling democracies. We will be diminished in the eyes of the world. We will erode our credibility to speak in international fora. We will be smaller in every way.