A Voice for Justice: An Ombudsman for Responsible Mining

On September 30, 2013 the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) launched its national Fall Action Campaign, A Voice for Justice. I had the pleasure of participating in the launch with representatives of our Canadian Bishops, three guest Bishops from the Global South, local members and staff from the Montreal area, and many more who joined us for the live webcast. It truly was a marvellous event, but it was only the beginning of the important action that CCODP members are taking across the country on behalf of our brothers and sisters in the Global South.

The Fall Action Campaign, A Voice for Justice, focuses on the action of Canadian mining companies operating in other countries whose operators respect neither the human rights of local communities nor the environment. Among other things, our Fall Action Campaign calls for the creation by the Government of Canada of an extractive sector ombudsman mechanism in Canada that would provide for the independent investigation of complaints against mining companies operating in other countries.

Since the official launch of our campaign, 22 Canadian civil society organizations, who are also members of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA), have joined us in our mobilization to ensure that victims of abuse by Canadian extractive companies abroad have access to justice in Canada. Read the following article to learn more about this growing campaign: Canadian civil society mobilizes to access to justice.

In addition, it was recently announced that Canada’s CSR Counsellor who was appointed by the government four years ago, has resigned. As well, the Advisory Panel of the Office of the CSR Counsellor ended its collaboration, explaining that the Office’s mandate was not effective.

These recent developments confirm that the Canadian government must provide real solutions that will ensure that the human rights and the environment of those people who live near Canadian extractive projects are respected.

I would now like to call upon Canadians from coast to coast to coast to join us in our Fall Action Campaign. I invite you to complete and sign the Fall Action Card, and arrange meetings with your local Members of Parliament to discuss this important issue, especially during our upcoming “Meet your MP Week”, which will be held the week of November 11th, when we are calling on as many of you as possible to organize meetings with your local MP. You will find useful resources to assist you in preparing for these meetings here. Together we can truly be “A Voice for Justice”.

Act now! Tell your MP that Canada needs an ombudsman for responsible mining.

More about the Voice for Justice campaign. Please visit our website often for periodic updates on how the campaign is progressing.