October 17, 2001
New legislation makes Canada’s Export Development Corporation judge, jury and executioner, Probe International to tell Parliamentary Committee.
New legislation makes Canada’s Export Development Corporation judge, jury and executioner, Probe International to tell Parliamentary Committee
International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew’s new legislation governing the Export Development Corporation not only exempts the crown corporation from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, it allows EDC to tailor make environmental rules for its own projects.
“The proposed law does nothing but deceive the public into believing that EDC is subject to environmental standards,” states Patricia Adams, an economist and Executive Director of Probe International, Canada’s largest critic of foreign aid and trade policies. “In fact, the law gives EDC a virtual carte blanche to destroy the environment. No other federal agency enjoys this power to destroy the global environment.”
“EDC is leading a race to the bottom in gutting independent, objective environmental standards,” says Ms. Adams.
EDC’s deplorable environmental and human rights record – it has backed Candu reactor sales to military juntas, mines that pollute rivers, and megaprojects such as China’s Three Gorges dam, which will flood 2 million people off their land – led to an extensive, three year public review of its activities. During the review, numerous parties insisted that EDC be made accountable by making it conform to Canadian laws, including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Access to Information Act.
“Bill C-31 reflects none of the criticisms brought by the overwhelming number of critics, and for good reason,” Ms Adams continued, “EDC is the federal government’s chief vehicle for dispensing largesse to those in the corporate sector that it favours.”
Probe International, an organization with 20,000 supporters across Canada, has monitored EDC’s activities at home and abroad since 1980.