Saturday, June 21, 2008

letter to Harper and Emerson

Below is the letter I sent to Stephen Harper and David Emerson, with copies to the Liberal, NDP, and Bloc leaders and foreign affairs critics, requesting that they implement the Advisory Group recommendations arising from the National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility in 2006.

Timing is critical right now, as we believe the government may make an announcement at the G8 leaders' meeting in Japan in July. I urge people to write their own letters to the Harper government in this regard. Here is the letter:

Dear Messrs. Harper and Emerson:

I am writing to you regarding the need for human rights standards to which Canadian extractive sector companies will be accountable. We have seen time and time again that voluntary guidelines are not enough to stem the incidence of human rights violations, as Canadian mining companies have been complicit in a range of human rights violations and environmental abuses.

We have recently passed the one-year anniversary of the release of the Advisory Group Report arising from the National Roundtable on Corporate Social responsibility. As a Canadian, I am upset that your government as not implemented the recommendations articulated in the report.

These recommendations are the culmination of a rare dialogue between industry and civil society. They provide us with an opportunity to ensure that Canadian companies respect human rights in their fields of operations in other countries. Both industry and civil society stand by the report, and are calling on you to take action.

In particular, I want to see

· Mandatory human rights standards for Canadian transnational oil, gas and mining companies.

· Monitoring mechanisms to make sure Canadian companies meet these standards.

· Legislation to hold Canadian transnational oil, gas and mining companies accountable in Canada when found complicit in human rights abuses.

Mr. Harper, at the 2007 G8 meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany, you expressed support for these recommendations, saying that their implementation would make Canada a G8 leader in supporting principles of corporate social responsibility.

I respectfully urge you to put forth legislation implementing these recommendations as soon as possible. The upcoming G8 Leader’s Summit at Hokkaido Japan would be a prime opportunity to make an announcement to this effect.

Stephen Karr

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