today: call your mp: urge them to support bill c-300, the responsible mining act

The world held its breath and shed tears of joy two weeks ago when the Chilean miners were rescued, but all over the world, people risk their lives and their health under similar circumstances, every single day. More than 60% of mines worldwide are owned by companies with headquarters in Canada. You can help create better protections for miners - and for the earth - by contacting your MP today.

C-330, the Responsible Mining Bill, introduced by MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood), would force Canadian extraction companies operating in other countries to use Canadian environmental and labour standards. It would give the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of International Trade a mandate to hold corporations accountable for their practices, and give the House of Commons and the Senate oversight responsibility.

Bill C-300 goes to third reading tomorrow, October 27. It passed second reading by only four votes (137-133). You can be sure the extraction industries - gas, oil and mining - are doing their best to kill it in third reading. Your MP needs to hear from you.

If you know anything about mining, you know that the people who do the grueling, incredibly dangerous work need all the protections they can get. If you've never imagined what it might be like to work in a mine, I recommend George Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier. For the links between mining, imperialism and colonialism - and what mining does to the countries whose riches are stripped for the profits' of others - try Eduardo Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America. And for how change is created, and at what cost, John Sayles' movie Matewan might be a good place to start.

But don't wait until you've digested those classics. Contact your MP today. If passed, Bill C-300 will:
  • put in place human rights, labour, and environmental standards that Canadian extractive companies receiving government support must live up to when they operate in developing countries;

  • create a complaints mechanism that will allow members of affected communities abroad, or Canadians, to file complaints against companies that are not living up to those standards;

  • create a possible sanction for companies that are found to be out of compliance with the standards, in the form of loss of government financial and political support.

  • The only people who oppose this bill are those who profit from extraction. Why should their profits be decreased by silly concerns like clean air, clean drinking water, safety standards, or supporting former workers dying of mesothelioma?

    For more detail, see Mining Watch Canada, and find out how your MP voted on C-300 in second reading here.

    The vote is tomorrow - making today the perfect time to call your MP and urge them to vote in favour of this important bill.

    More info:

    Montreal Gazette: Canadian mining companies need tougher rules

    The Mark: Bill C-300 is Mining for Change

    Undermining Guate, a blog about the impact of Canadian mines in Guatemala: Why Canada Needs Bill C-300

    Bill C-300 on Facebook

    Please call your MP today.

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