Last January, KAIROS, Canada posted a news story on their website saying that they were “encouraged by the Honourable Minister of International Trade’s (The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne) announcement on January 17, 2018, regarding the creation of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Business Enterprise.” KAIROS went on to say “We remain cautiously optimistic because it is still unclear if the Ombudsperson will be completely independent at all stages of the process.”
Some of you may remember that the 117th Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster put forward Resolution #9 and the motion was carried. The result of this resolution was a letter written by Bishop Skelton to M. Champagne, June 14, 2017. The writing and sending of this letter was covered by diocesan communications at the time.
The letter is as follows:
Dear Mr. Champagne
At our recent Diocesan Synod a presentation was made which delineated the many places around the world where Canadian mining companies are involved in exploration and extracting resources. A central concern was expressed that local communities and, in many cases, local indigenous communities are suffering the effects of this mining activity. These people have no place to make their case or have their concerns heard.
As a result the Synod passed the following resolution which calls upon the Government of Canada to create the position of a human rights ombudsperson for the international extractive sector. This office would necessarily have the power to investigate independently any complaints which are brought to the attention of the ombudsperson who would make their findings and call upon the respective companies to comply.
Diocese of New Westminster – Synod – May 26-27, 2017 - - Resolution #9
MOVED/SECONDED : The Reverend Emilie Smith / The Reverend Expedito Farinas
RESOLVED that this Synod, through the Bishop to the International Trade Minister, Francois – Philippe Champagne, calls upon the Government of Canada to institute a human rights ombudsperson for the international extractive sector with the power to independently investigate complaints.
I look forward to receiving your assurance that the Government of Canada will do all in its power to create such a position and thereby safeguard the communities impacted by Canadian mining interests abroad.
The Right Reverend Melissa M. Skelton
The two individuals that moved and seconded the motion are members of the diocesan Eco-Justice Unit’s Working Group on the Practices of Canadian Mining Companies. So this news post is for information that a motion from our diocesan Synod in support of this appointment came to fruition
The Anglican Church of Canada’s partner, KAIROS has led this request along with organizations such as Amnesty International. We continue to be concerned that the office of the ombudsperson be completely independent, and with that result in mind the “Working Group” will follow up and we invite anyone in the diocese to also send a letter.