Mining petition to be aired, should government stand – by Michael Swan (The Catholic Register – September 20, 2020)

If the Liberal government stands past the Sept. 23 throne speech, Martin Blanchet’s seven-year battle to get somebody with authority to look into how Canadian mining companies and others treat workers, communities and the environment in poor countries will finally get an airing in the House of Commons.

More than 6,000 people have signed a petition Blanchet launched over the summer through the Parliamentary online petition system. The petition calls for stronger investigatory powers for the Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise and Blanchet’s MP, Edmonton-Strathcona MP and NDP deputy house leader Heather McPherson, is anxious to present it in the House of Commons.

In addition to the petition, McPherson is preparing her own private members’ bill to strengthen the new system for monitoring overseas operations of Canadian companies.

“This is something that really does resonate with so many Canadians,” McPherson said.

Though he was aiming for a modest 5,000 signatures, Blanchet garnered 6,130 signatures between May 4 and Sept. 1 to a petition that asks for the ombudsperson to be given “independence and the power to investigate human rights abuse allegations.”

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