Smart people laughing at the open house 2013

What is MJAC? What is mining justice?

2013 September 13, by Sherwin Arnott

We had a barbecue and open house on Wednesday. And many folks from the Mining Justice Action Committee (MJAC) came out to let us know about the important work they’re doing. I’ll be writing again, more explicitly, about the work of MJAC. But in the meantime here’s a few ideas that have stuck with me from my experience sharing food with so many cool folks.

  1. Canadian mining companies have significant social and environmental impacts in other countries (jurisdictions).
  2. These social and environmental impacts range from human rights violations to environmental crimes.
  3. Canadian citizens need to take responsibility for the impacts of Canadian mining companies in other jurisdictions.
  4. There is a disproportionate number of mining companies in Canada – like, upwards of 70% or more. Wow.
  5. There is some green-wash and empty public relations bought and paid for by mining companies and we need to be wary of what companies claim, and care more about what they actually do.
  6. We need a legal framework for  holding Canadian companies to account for their impacts in other jurisdictions.
  7. There are some similarities in the way mining companies (and governments) fail to respect Indigenous land rights both here in Canada and abroad.
  8. Keep an eye on developments surrounding Bill 323: An Act to amend the Federal Courts Act (international promotion and protection of human rights).
  9. Keep an eye on this important legal precedent in Ontario that appears to be a possible “breakthrough in legal accountability of Canadian mining companies for overseas rights abuses.”
  10. There’s some overlap between the members of MJAC and the members of the Council of Canadians. Skip and Jane Brett are good examples of the kind of engaged citizens that care about mining justice and are “just fine wearing two hats.”

    Skip and Jane pose at the Mining Justice, Council of Canadians barbecue

    “We wear many hats.”

  11. Finally, and most importantly, people are working hard to understand and mitigate the harms done by Canadian mining companies. They deserve our support.