As people of faith we affirmed that we live with respect in creation, that “we cherish and respect the diversity of life and celebrate the beauty of the Earth. For us as members of one family, love and caring are the basis of our relationships with one another and with nature.” (One Earth Community, 1992).
Canada is home to half of the world’s mining and mineral exploration companies. United Church partners call us to respond to the grave injustices they face—environmental degradation, extrajudicial killings, incarceration, militarization, and intimidation of community leaders opposed to government policy. The United Church, as a member of the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability, was greatly encouraged by the Minister of International Trade’s announcement in January 2018 regarding the creation of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Business Enterprise, the first of its kind in the world.
More than one year later, there is still no ombudsperson in place. Communities negatively affected by Canadian mining companies around the world are still waiting for access to justice.
We’re almost there. Call on Canada to continue to show global leadership and fulfill its promise.
- Call your member of Parliament and urge them to contact the Prime Minister’s Office right away. Tell them that an ombudsperson without the power to compel documents and testimony is not the ombudsperson we need! Feel free to use this sample script. You can find your member of Parliament's contact information by entering your postal code on the Parliament of Canada website.
- Join the #Power2Investigate Twitter storm! Mention your member of Parliament in a daily tweet about an effective ombudsperson until that office is in place. Insist the government keep its promise to give the ombuds real #Power2Investigate. You can do this by typing your MP's Twitter username preceded by the "@" symbol. Use the additional hashtags #Open4Justice, #ombuds, and #UCCan; tag the Prime Minister @CanadianPM as well as key members of the cabinet @MinJusticeEn, @cathmckenna, @cafreeland, @SohiAmarjeet, @telfordk, @jimcarr_wpg). Feel free to use these sample tweets.
Don’t tweet? Make it a daily Facebook post, send an e-mail or hand-written letter to your MP, or call them.
- Share this Take Action on your social media networks. Use the hashtags #UCCan, #open4justice, #ombuds, #power2investigate.
Since 2015, United Church people across the country have been calling on the Canadian government to protect the dignity of human life and the sacredness of creation by creating an independent human rights ombudsperson with the power to hold Canadian mining companies responsible for their overseas operations. They have met with, called, and written to their members of Parliament and the minister of trade. They have done this in response to United Church partners who have also clearly called for the creation of the ombudsperson.
A United Church partner in the Philippines, writing to Prime Minister Trudeau, stated: “The creation of the new ombudsperson office is important not only for our organization, but for indigenous peoples and other communities affected by Canadian mining projects in the country, in bringing the human—and indigenous peoples’—rights violations committed to the attention of the Canadian government.”
Nearly a decade has passed since industry and civil society leaders recommended [pdf on pdac.ca] the Canadian government create such an office. More than 600,000 Canadians and hundreds of civil society organizations from Canada and abroad have since added their voice to the call for an ombudsperson.
In 2015, the federal Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, Green Party and Bloc Quebecois each committed [PDF on cnca-rcrce.ca] to creating a human rights ombudsperson for the extractive sector. People and organizations around the world are calling on Canada to hold our companies to account; do your part to make Canada Open for Justice.
In early 2018, United Church partner The Christian Council of Zambia wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau “to appeal to [his] good office to strongly encourage and support the government of Canada to affirm the creation of the office of Human Rights Ombudsperson, being fully aware of the presence and influence of Canadian mining companies operating around the world and in particular in Africa.”
For more information, see Mining and Resource Extraction.
For more information, contact: