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Canada’s natural resources not available for human rights abusers

April 02, 2009

Ottawa (April 2nd, 2009) – Today, Senator Yoine Goldstein argued that foreign companies and investors should not be allowed to invest in Canada if they have participated in the commission of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, or human rights abuses. Senator Goldstein asked for Senators’ support and appealed to their moral values during the second reading of Bill S-231, An Act to amend the Investment Canada Act (human rights violations).

“We have the good fortune of living in a country that possesses a great wealth of natural resources. With riches comes responsibility, the responsibility to ensure that those who exploit our resources do so with respect for Canadian values.”

Currently, the Investment Canada Act allows the government to refuse foreign investments when they do not create a “net benefit” for Canada. The calculation of “net benefit” includes consideration for, among others, the impact on financial interests, on employment, on competition, on productivity, on innovation, on technological development and on cultural industries. But there is no consideration for the respect of human rights.

“Canadian oil, minerals, and softwood lumber, and Canadian talent and ingenuity should not be a source of profit for companies which support directly or indirectly the most heinous and monstrous crimes.”

For example, it is unacceptable that companies that support the ongoing genocide in Darfur through their actions in Sudan should be allowed to mine Canadian wealth to support their activities aboard, according to Senator Goldstein.

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