Duncan Hood is the editor of Report on Business magazine.
Most of us don’t associate Canadian businesses with assault and murder. But between 2000 and 2015, 44 people died as a result of violence surrounding Canadian-owned mines in Latin America. The stories behind those killings, some of which are documented in a 2016 study by Shin Imai, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, are harrowing.
According to his report, mine protesters in Guatemala have reportedly been beaten, arrested, kidnapped and shot. Women living in communities surrounding the mines have been raped. In 2009, a political activist who opposed a Canadian mine in El Salvador was found dead in a well, his fingernails removed.
These atrocities rarely make headlines in Canada. The victims are poor and live in faraway developing countries. The attacks are rooted in conflicts that existed long before the mines arrived on the scene, and the links to Canada can be circuitous.
But despite the distance, these deaths can be the unfortunate side effect of planning decisions made in Vancouver and Toronto. Not that mining executives are looking for this kind of violence—it’s bad for business and it puts them in an ethical quandary. But after decades of brutality, complacency can set in. The problems seem intractable and become part of the cost of doing business.
There is cause for hope. As this issue’s cover feature documents on page 22, there have recently been some major developments that could result in real change.
For the rest of this opinion column: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/rob-magazine/article-people-are-dying-because-of-our-mines-its-time-for-the-killing-to/