NEWS: Golcorp sponsors Conservative MPs to visit Marlin mine in Guatemala. (best government money can buy...)
“MiningWatch Canada is highlighting that the Vancouver-based mining company Goldcorp provided an all-expenses-paid trip for Conservative MP Dean Allison (Niagara West-Glanbrook, Ontario), Conservative MP Dave Van Kesteren (Chatham-Kent-Essex, Ontario), Liberal MP Massimo Pacetti (Saint Leonard-Saint Michel, Quebec), Independent MP Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay-Superior North, Ontario) and Liberal Senator Mac Harb (Ontario) to see their tour (and their version) of the controversial Marlin mine in San Miguel, Guatemala.
While it is problematic that the Liberals and Independent went on this trip, it is even more so the case with the government party MPs. Allison and Van Kesteren, both sit on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, with Allison the chair of the committee.
Jennifer Moore, the Latin America Program Coordinator for MiningWatch, says, “Flying in on the company jet, having closed-door meetings with government officials and having select meetings with certain community actors positions them in a conflict that makes them look very one-sided and is going to undermine whatever they may have to say coming out of this. The credibility and the independence of Canadian government and elected members is undermined by flying in the company’s jet.”
The Marlin mine is the same mine that Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow visited in September 2011. At that time she wrote, “It must be said that there exists ample, independent documentation on the harmful environmental and human rights practices of the Marlin Mine, so much so that in 2010, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on the Guatemalan government to suspend operations at the site pending a full and independent investigation into allegations of abuse. The government refused to comply with this ruling, which is considered mandatory by the Organization of American States. One look at the mine site itself tells a huge part of the story; there is the razed mountaintop, surrounded by huge lagoons of poisoned water. This mine and others doing similar damage must shut down their operations while an expert, independent and public commission be established to carry out a full and impartial investigation of the abuses of which they are accused, and if necessary, be prepared to pay full reparation to the communities they have harmed.”
To read the Toronto Star report, go to http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1260756–questions-raised-over-politicians-trip-to-mine-in-guatemala; the CBC report is at http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/09/19/goldcorp-mining-trip-lobbying.html.