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PUBLISHED : Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016 12:00 AM
The Liberal government is “seriously reviewing” the creation of an ombudsperson to investigate Canadian companies implicated in wrongdoing abroad, says Canada’s corporate social responsibility counsellor for the extractive sector, Jeffrey Davidson.
After a year of getting its feet wet and dealing with top priorities, the government has turned its attention to Mr. Davidson’s office and the corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies of the previous Conservative government, he said in an interview with The Hill Times last week.
“[They’re] working through how they want to deal with this whole issue: the CSR issue, the conduct of Canadian companies overseas, not just in the extractives, but across sectors, and what they should do…above and beyond what exists,” he said.
NY Times
MONTREAL — “Canada is back,” says Justin Trudeau, the charismatic and bilingual prime minister of Canada, at international gatherings, seeking to showcase the imprint he wants to put on Canadian foreign policy in contrast to that of his predecessor, Stephen Harper. The prime minister has used very precise terms in his speeches: justice, environmental care, democracy and human rights. He even dared to invoke some of them during his official visit to China in September, although the Chinese did not applaud him for it.
By Jean Symes, The Hill Times, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016
The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability has just released proposed legislation that would accomplish just that.
At least 44 people killed. More than 400 people injured. Hundreds more repressed and criminalized for defending their land, their health, and their livelihoods.
These figures are not from a war, although often it feels that way to those whose lives are being described.
Rather, these shocking details of human rights abuses were all connected with the activities of Canadian mining companies, throughout 13 countries in Latin America. And they represent barely the “tip of the iceberg.”
This according to The “Canada Brand,” a report released last week by the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project out of York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

Today, the British Columbia Court of Appeals in Vancouver, Canada will revisit a procedural motion in the case of seven Guatemalans who have brought a civil suit for battery and negligence against Tahoe Resources. The suit concerns the mining company’s role in a violent attack in April 2013, when Tahoe’s private security opened fire on peaceful protesters outside the controversial Escobal silver mine in southeastern Guatemala. Video footage shows that the protestors were shot at close range while attempting to flee.

The “Canada Brand”: Violence and Canadian Mining Companies in Latin America

Executive Summary
The Justice and Corporate Accountability Project has documented troubling incidents of violence associated with Canadian mining companies in Latin America. In general, neither the Canadian government nor industry are monitoring or reporting on these incidents.

What we found about the degree of violence and criminalization from 2000-2015.

Protesters set fire to mining camp in southern Peru Photo credit: Correo / Rudy Huallpa
Hundreds of protesters opposed to mining in their rural province fought police and set fire to a Canadian-owned exploration camp in the southern state of Puno on Tuesday.
Residents of the Orurillo district in Puno’s Melgar province announced a two-day protest for Tuesday and Wednesday against exploration activities by Solex del Peru, a subsidiary of Canadian miner Caracara Silver.
“They want to get a mining job which affects the district. They’ve started with the mining camp without conducing informational workshops, so on Tuesday and Wednesday a strike will take place in Orurillo,” Ricardo Noriega, an environmental lawyer leading the movement, told Correo. Noriega added that the strike would be peaceful and protesters would not try to block roads.
“But we must also be ready so nothing happens where, as we have seen, the police themselves infiltrate [the protest] to commit violent acts,” Noriega said.
Canadá está de regreso”, ha dicho Justin Trudeau —carismático y bilingüe— en reuniones internacionales, como para mostrar la impronta que quiere darle a la política exterior canadiense respecto de la de su predecesor, Stephen Harper. El primer ministro de Canadá ha empleado en sus discursos términos muy precisos: justicia, cuidado medioambiental, democracia, derechos humanos. Incluso se atrevió a evocar alguno de ellos en su visita oficial a China hace algunas semanas, pero los chinos no lo aplaudieron por eso, sino por sus sonrisas y propuestas de negocios.
Rusoro Mining declared victory yesterday in its four-year legal battle with the government of Venezuela over the nationalization of the gold industry in 2011. The company was awarded US$1.2 billion ($1.5B) by the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
The dispute began in 2011, when then-president Hugo Chavez nationalized the Venezuelan gold industry. Despite initially cooperating with the government, Rusoro later claimed that its right to mine was expropriated without compensation. In 2012, the company launched an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) case against Venezuela under the terms of the Canada-Venezuela Foreign Investment Protection Agreement, demanding $3 billion from the government for ending its mining concessions.

Mexico's environmental prosecutor said it had kept regular oversight of the country's largest gold mine, days after a Reuters report on a prolonged leak of contaminated water there prompted activists to accuse the agency of failing its mandate.

Environmental prosecutor Profepa said that since 2013 it had completed five "administrative proceedings" on the Penasquito mine in Zacatecas state, which is owned by Canada's Goldcorp Inc.

It did not say whether the proceedings were related to the leak

Father Melo fears he may soon be a target of assassination. His home country is both one of the most dangerous in the world for activists and fertile ground for Canadian investment.
President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday that Venezuela had struck $4.5 billion in mining deals with foreign and domestic companies, part of plan to lift the OPEC nation's economy out of a deep recession causing food shortages and social unrest.
Maduro said the deals were with Canadian, South African, U.S. and Venezuelan companies, but did not specify whether contracts had been signed or just initial agreements.

The socialist leader, whose popularity hit a nine-month low in a survey published this week, said he expected $20 billion in mining investment contracts to be signed in coming days and that 60 percent of the income Venezuela received would be spent on social projects

By MARINA JIMENEZForeign Affairs Writer, Mon., June 20, 2016
The murder trial at the centre of a legal battle involving Toronto-based HudBay offers a glimpse of why Ontario courts took the landmark step of hearing a Guatemalan dispute in Canada.
EL ESTOR, GUATEMALA—The murder trial of Mynor Padilla, a former security guard for a mine owned by a then subsidiary of HudBay Minerals Inc., provides a fascinating glimpse into Guatemala’s problematic justice system.
Padilla, 52, is charged with killing Adolfo Ich, a Mayan Q’eqchi’ community leader, and shooting German Chub, a bystander, during a protest on contested land at Fenix nickel mine in El Estor, in eastern Guatemala, on Sept 27, 2009. 
These alleged crimes are also at the centre of a series of landmark lawsuits in Ontario Superior Court, where HudBay, a Toronto-based company, faces three negligence claims, launched by Ich, Chub and 12 other Q’eqchi’.

The York University associate professor monitors the behaviour of Canadian mining companies in Latin America. The new Liberal government is said to plan no changes to the previous government's much-criticized Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor. Imani has been quoted as saying there is “really no point” to the office.

by mexicoinstitute
06/20/16 Vice News
As the number of refugees and displaced people worldwide reaches a record 65 million, debate continues over whether asylum seekers — especially LGBT people — from countries deemed to be safe, should be granted refugee status abroad.
Several countries in Europe have compiled "safe country of origin" lists, whereby anyone from those countries will likely to be sent home if they try to seek asylum in another country.
In North America, Canada has been relying heavily since 2013 on its safe country list to guide who should be blocked from obtaining refuge, a process the government argues is meant to ensure "genuine" refugees are resettled. And now, Canada is facing fresh criticisms for listing Mexico among its 42 "safe" nations, especially as the LGBT community there and people living with HIV continue to face rampant violence and discrimination

Nov 11 2016 Voces

The liberal values of free trade and multiculturalism might be in retreat in the United States after the election of Donald Trump, but they are alive and well in Canada. A year after taking office, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit Cuba and Argentina beginning on November 15, before attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Lima, Peru. This trip is an opportunity for Canada to increase its standing in Latin America, and for Trudeau to promote the principles and interests of his country –the world’s 10th largest economy– in the hemisphere.

A former diplomat, Colin Robertson is vice-president and fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.
The Trudeau Government should prioritize its strategic partnership with Mexico. The June visit of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to Quebec City, Toronto and Ottawa set a plan for closer collaboration. Both nations need to deliver on specific initiatives, especially those that emphasize our people-to-people ties.
October 10, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada
The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that he will travel to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras from October 12 to 14, 2016.
While in Mexico, Minister Dion will attend the first Canada-Mexico High-Level Strategic Dialogue as part of Canada’s renewed partnership with Mexico. Minister Dion will also meet with Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, to discuss how to strengthen the ties between the two countries.
By Stephen Baranyi*
Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau and his cabinet ministers’ statements following their election in October 2015 that “Canada is back” reflect a global strategy that is likely to give a boost to Canada-Latin America relations.  Canada never “left” the Americas during the decade of Conservative governments led by Prime Minister Harper, but the new administration is patching up its predecessors’ mixed record.  Building on the Americas Strategy launched in 2007, Ottawa signed new bilateral free trade agreements with Colombia, Peru and others; broadened its engagement in regional security affairs; and greatly increased its whole-of-government engagement in Haiti.  Canada played a major role at the Summit of the Americas in Panama (April 2015) and hosted the Pan American Games (July 2015).  Yet the revelation of Canada’s espionage in Brazil, visa restrictions on Mexicans, the poor reputation of some Canadian mining firms in the region, and its inability to reach a trade agreement with the Caribbean Community fed a growing desencanto in Canada’s relations with the region.
PUBLISHED : Monday, Sept. 26, 2016 12:05 PM
On August 24 2016, after nearly four years of negotiations in Havana, Cuba, the Colombian government and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) formally announced they had reached a peace agreement, the content of which would to be submitted to popular vote through a plebiscite scheduled for October 2. Provided the peace deal is endorsed in the ballot box, members of the FARC would be expected to start demobilizing before the end of the year.
On Monday, Sept. 26, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion will travel to Cartagena to witness the historical signing of the peace deal. 
Kathy Price
It was an arresting image: two smiling heads of state jogging together across an Ottawa bridge in shorts and t-shirts.
Justin Trudeau’s much-photographed run with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto during Nieto’s state visit to Canada in June was meant to convey an important message. Canada has a close friendship with Mexico, the PM has said on several occasions, describing it as a partnership based on shared values and cemented through new agreements for collaboration, not to mention growing trade and investment.

By John M. Kirk*

After a decade of ignoring Cuba under the government led by Stephen Harper, Canada is on the cusp of an era of a significant improvement in bilateral relations with the island.  Many constants supporting this longstanding relationship remain: Canada, along with Mexico, was the only country in the Western Hemisphere not to break relations with revolutionary Cuba in 1962; Pierre Trudeau was the first leader of a NATO country to visit Cuba (1976) and developed a strong friendship with Fidel Castro (who was an honorary pall-bearer at his funeral); Canadians make up the largest tourist group (1.3 million a year) there; and the largest single foreign investor in Cuba is the Canadian firm Sherritt International.

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Jul. 04, 2016 7:35PM EDT
Last updated Monday, Jul. 04, 2016 8:39PM EDT
Canada is committing nearly $60-million to help support the implementation of Colombia’s peace process after the government and the country’s largest rebel group recently agreed to a historic ceasefire to end one of the world’s longest-running wars.
Although International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says Canada supports the peace process between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, she sidestepped endorsing the guerrilla group’s eventual formation of a political party. As a part of the final deal, FARC will demobilize and form a left-wing political party after the peace process is complete
Paulo Carreno King, Mexico's undersecretary for North America, said he has held talks with senior Canadian officials about involving Canada in peacekeeping operations in Latin America under the UN mandate
APRIL 24, 2015 BY CCA ADMIN, Pacific Alliance whitepaper, Barbara Kotschwar, Research Fellow – Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC
What does the Pacific Alliance mean for Canadian Trade and Investment?
Spanish news on the launch of CCA Perspective Paper on the Pacific Alliance, click here for the article on Notimex
Americas Business Dialogue August Newsletter focused on the Pacific Alliance highlights the CCA Perspective Paper on the Pacific Alliance to view the newsletter click here
Download the paper: CCA_Perspective Paper_Pacific Alliance 2015
Ms. Kotschwar’s research focuses on trade, investment and regional integration. She was previously Chief of the Foreign Trade Information Systems at the Organization of American States and Senior Trade Specialist during the FTAA negotiations. Barbara has advised Latin American and Caribbean governments on trade-related issues.
By Levon Sevunts |, Sunday 13 December, 2015
As Canada marks the 25th anniversary of its accession to the Organization of American States, the new Liberal government needs to re-engage the hemisphere with the vision of a Pan American partnership, a group of experts is urging the federal government.
This group of academics, government officials, and diplomats came together in Montreal last week at a conference entitled “For An Active Engagement of Canada in the Americas,” which was organized at the French-language University of Montreal in Quebec, known under its French acronym UQAM.
The Kirchner era in Argentine politics and economics is thankfully coming to an end. The importance of last weekend’s presidential elections in Argentina cannot be over estimated. With the election of Mauricio Macri as its new president, Argentina can now look forward to new and positive developments for its people and their society. But just as important, this historic change will hopefully give birth to a different and constructive role for Argentina in the Western Hemisphere and, of special interest for us in Canada, a rejuvenated and re-energized relationship.