Mexican activists ask Ottawa to investigate alleged support of mining firm – by Bill Curry (Globe and Mail – February 8, 2018)

A delegation of activists from Mexico – including the son of a community leader who was murdered after raising concerns with the Canadian embassy – are calling for an investigation into the actions of diplomats who allegedly supported a Canadian mining company accused of human-rights abuses.

The Public Sector Integrity Commission says it is considering the formal request for an investigation filed by the activists this week. The activists also met privately on Tuesday with senior Canadian government officials.

The call for an investigation comes on the heels of a major announcement by International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne that Canada will create a new watchdog position with a mandate to investigate human-rights complaints against Canadian companies operating in other countries.

Once it is established later this year, the watchdog would have the power to investigate allegations. It can also recommend sanctions, such as the withdrawal of the diplomatic supports that embassy staff regularly provide to Canadian companies.

However, the advocates from Mexico expressed concern on Tuesday with the government’s plan, noting that the new watchdog – officially known as the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise – will only investigate complaints after the fact.

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