Published on 24 August by TeleSUR
Canadian mining companies account for 75 percent of the world’s extractive corporations. Canada is literally digging up the globe.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ed Fast says, “Canada’s mining sector … leads the world in responsible mining practices, and we are proud of the prosperity that this sector is creating at home and in every corner of the globe.”
However, the political, social and environmental costs are far greater than the Canadian government or mining corporations would have you believe.
In Latin America,Canada and its extractive industry are viewed as the new conquistadors; they are thirsty for land and minerals and hungry for power. Canadian mining companies are often positioned at the epicenter of community conflicts in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, and linked with violence, environmental degradation, corruption and murder. Research produced by Canada’s own Prospectors and Development Association of Canada (PDAC) found that Canadian mining companies accounted for the most human and environmental rights abuses globally. Harrowing examples in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras further erode Canada’s claims of bringing “good” to the world.
Canadian mining companies’ environmental and human rights abuses have been well documented by affected communities, NGOs and transnational solidarity groups. Such injustices are tangible examples of deep structural violence that Canadian extractives are inextricably linked with. Their actions, under the guise of “development,” have undermined governance in countries where democracy can be described as “uneven.” Legal scholar Debbie Johnston writes:
“Canada’s extractive industry routinely seeks out unexploited natural resources located in underdeveloped nations that feature weak, failing or often oppressive governments that, in turn, rely on foreign investment of capital and technology to exploit their resources, to prosper, and in some cases to stay in power.” Canadian companies actively choose to operate in Central American countries with corrupt governments and often limited public support.