The Borealis Initiative: Going beyond the law is dangerous territory – by Peter Foster (National Post – March 12, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Why do we need extra legal forces, particularly foreign-funded ones, to protect the Canadian environment

I have no doubt that the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) program is a model of environmental and community responsibility. The Canadian mining industry is here, as in many other respects, a world leader. Where I continue to beg to differ with the association is in the nature and significance of its relationship with the Canadian Boreal Initiative, CBI.

The co-authored response to my recent column suggests that “dialogue” is an important part of the “privilege to operate.” But surely it is strange to regard the creation of jobs, growth and tax revenue as a “privilege” which requires “licence” from foreign-funded groups such as the CBI, especially as those groups require no licence of their own.

Without such ENGO licence, however, a company or industry opens itself to potential “reputational damage,” that is, the spreading of disinformation about it, and the harassment of its customers. Such harassment was important in forcing the forest industry into the 2010 Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, CBFA, which was promoted and “brokered” by the Philadephia- based Pew Charitable Trusts.

This is relevant because the CBI happens to be the Canadian arm of Pew, and a signatory of the CBFA, which has been in turmoil for over a year. One of the CBI’s ENGO cohorts, Greenpeace, left the agreement to mount a campaign against one of the corporate signatories, Resolute Forest Products, who then sued Greenpeace for defamation and malicious falsehood.

Greenpeace, rather than offering a defence, has gone back to harassing Resolute’s customers, and seeking to promote so called SLAPP legislation in Ontario, which amounts to a licence to lie. Another significant development, given the trend to outside certification, is that Resolute suddenly found some of its certification under the Forest Stewardship Council, FSC, withdrawn.

Hardly by coincidence, Greenpeace was one of the founders of the FSC, which is ardently supported by the CBI. This suggests that ENGO-related certification might ultimately be a tool for bringing industry to heel rather than burnishing its triple bottom line.

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