Sunday, April 6, 2008

GPC: Time for Responsible Corporate Governance

This is from the GPC website. Link.
It is Time for Responsible Corporate Governance, Greens

OTTAWA – On the one-year anniversary of the Advisory Report from the National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility the Green Party joins the call for enhanced government oversight for Canada’s extractive companies operating in developing countries.

The National Roundtables were set up in response to a unanimous report from the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade that called on the federal government to put in place a process that will establish oversight mechanisms for Canada’s mining, oil and gas companies operating in the developing world.

The Advisory Group from the National Roundtables was made up of representatives from industry, labour, the investment community, civil society, and academia and their Advisory Report represents a consensus position among these groups. The federal government has not yet responded to the Advisory Report.

“Canada has become known as a country that fails to adequately monitor and regulate its multinational corporations. This Advisory Report represents a unique and responsible position on corporate accountability that represents the interests of both industry and civil society,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “It is imperative that the federal government not only bring forward a response to this groundbreaking report, but begin working diligently to implement every one of its recommendations.”

If implemented, this recommended framework would set out clear standards and reporting obligations for Canadian corporations. It would establish an ombudsman office with the power to investigate and evaluate complaints from affected communities and determine levels of compliance with the established standards. The Advisory Report not only calls for the development of tools for advancing best practices in the extractive industry but outlines a set of procedures for withholding government services from companies that are seriously non-compliant.

“There have been growing reports of devastating human rights abuses and environmental destruction as a result of Canadian extractive companies operating in developing countries. This Advisory Report represents a consensus position between industry and civil society and sets out an effective framework for facing the challenges of corporate governance,” said International Affairs Critic Eric Walton. “We call on the Harper government to recognize the significance of this consensus position and begin acting upon their recommendations.”

The Green Party has committed to the following:
• Renegotiating our multilateral trade agreements, such as NAFTA, to include fair trade tariffs that work to protect human rights and our ecosystems, as well as terminate investor-state dispute mechanisms that erode Canada's sovereignty and environmental laws.
• Proposing a reform of the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank, placing these institutions under the authority of the UN general assembly, and shift the direction of international trade away from “free trade” to “fair trade” focusing on the global protection of human rights, labour standards, cultural diversity, and ecosystems.
The Green Party also supports Peter Julian’s private member’s bill (Bill C-492) which allows the Federal Courts to hear and decide claims for violations of international law that takes place outside Canada. This legislation would allow non-citizens to sue anyone for gross violations of basic human, environmental or labour rights when they are committed outside the country.

The Advisory Report can be found here:

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