The new Liberal government under Justin Trudeau likely will not get around to legislation overseeing Canadian mining companies’ overseas projects in the near future, Liberal MP for Scarborough-Guildwood John McKay told SNL Metals & Mining on Nov. 9.
McKay has been on the forefront of this type of legislation, and previously tabled Bill C-300, which was defeated by a Conservative parliament in 2010.
“It was referenced during the election,” McKay said. “I don’t think it’s the highest priority this government has, as it didn’t form any part of the platform.”
The original bill would have required mining firms which operate abroad and which receive support from the Canadian government to uphold human rights and environmental standards. Companies which would be found violating these standards would be reported to Export Development Canada, which provides financial assistance for Canadian firms operating internationally, as well as the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
However, McKay said existing structures overseeing Canadian mining operations need to be strengthened.
“Here we are in 2015, and it’s about to be 2016, and I still get correspondence, and still get people stopping me on the streets and at my door, and people still reference [the bill],” he said.
“There is still a significant appetite from the public” for this legislation, he said.
He would like to see the creation of an ombudsman that would oversee Canadian mining firms, as opposed to the existing Extractive Sector Corporate and Social Responsibility Counsellor position which exists at the moment.
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