The Canadian Press – CALGARY – Liberal MP John McKay is calling for stricter oversight of Canadian mining companies abroad as plaintiffs increasingly look to Canadian courts to seek justice.
He says the government needs to do more because Canadian companies operating internationally continue to be accused of violating local laws and human rights, despite overall improvements in the industry.
“These unwelcome instances keep on coming up,” McKay said in an interview after a New York Times front-page story over the weekend shone a spotlight on a Canadian mining company accused of serious crimes in Guatemala.
“And not only does the mining company suffer brand problems, so also does the industry suffer brand problems, and so also does our nation suffer brand problems …. It has been and continues to be a bit of a black eye on our country.”
McKay has long been pushing for the creation of an ombudsman position that could investigate claims against Canadian companies abroad and impose sanctions.
“There still has to be a day of reckoning for a company that commits egregious actions,” said McKay.
The former Conservative government did create a mediator position as part of a 2009 corporate social responsibility strategy, but the role came under criticism because it was entirely voluntary for companies to participate. The program was later revamped in 2014 as part of the goverment’s updated strategy.
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