Beneath Canada’s mines in Latin America lies an unregulated industry.
Canada is seen as a friendly nation but many indigenous communities say they have a dirty secret. Canada’s mining industry, the largest in the world, controls a majority of Latin American mining. Activists say they pollute and violate human rights without accountability from the Canadian government. Mining companies argue they build schools, health centres, roads and provide jobs.
In this episode of The Stream, we speak to Meera Karunananthan (@meerakar) from the Council of Canadians and John McKay (@johnmckaylib), Canadian Member of Parliament. Members of The Stream community also join via Google+.
Home to 70 per cent of the world’s mining companies, Canada’s mineral extraction economy is more robust and expansive than any other nation’s. Although its operations span from Ontario’s Ring of Fire to the Congo, Canadian mining companies are the most active in Latin America. The diagram below compares the exploration budgets of large Canadian mining companies with those of other countries.
Due to the abundance of activity in Canada’s mining sector, and the history of risks to the local environments and citizens that neighbour extractive sites, controversy regularly follows mining operations. Some citizens argue that there is a lack of oversight and regulation for mining companies. To safeguard at-risk populations abroad, two legislative attempts were made “to promote environmental best practices and ensure the protection and promotion of international human rights standards”.
MP John McKay introduced the first effort, Bill C-300, which was narrowly defeated in 2010 by a vote of 140 to 134. It sought to limit funding for companies that did not maintain adequate standards of environmental and social responsibility. McKay describes the need for, and opposition to the bill below. He will join The Stream to discuss current attempts at regulating Canada’s mining industry.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Aljazeera website: http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/behind-mining-monopoly-0022324