news | Tuesday July 16, 2013

VICE Magazine on the Outrageous Conduct of Canada’s Mining Industries

A recent piece on Canada’s mining industry has been published in VICE Magazine. The article, written by Dave Dean, asks precisely the question that is addressed by Alain Deneault and William Sacher in Imperial Canada Inc.: Legal Haven of Choice for the World’s Mining Industries:

So the question is, why? What makes Canada such an attractive option for the ‘extractive sector’? Canadians don’t own all of these mining companies – but these organizations do plop their headquarters down here – what is it about this country that makes it such an industry haven?

I asked Jamie Kneen, research coordinator with Ottawa-based MiningWatch Canada, a non-profit organization that describes itself as ‘a direct response to industry and government failures to protect the public and the environment from destructive mining practices and to deliver on their sustainability rhetoric.’ Just why it is that Canada is the go-to place for mining companies to set up shop?

‘There’s two sides to it,’ he said. ‘One is that there is a concentration of expertise in mining finance and mining law, it does have a historical basis.’ He is of course referring to the various Canadian gold rushes, the nickel deposits in Sudbury, coal in Cape Breton, etc. ‘The other side is that Canada provides very favourable conditions. The listing requirements for the TSX are pretty lax, the disclosure requirements are pretty lax, you don’t have to have Canadian directories or Canadian shareholders to be a Canadian company… and the Canadian government doesn’t ask too many questions about whether you’re paying your taxes in other jurisdictions (i.e. foreign countries where the mines are operating).”

Dean goes on to enumerate just a few of the on-record iniquities and abuses perpetrated by various mining corporations whose home bases are in Canada, leaving readers with, to say the least, a distaste for the situation and an awareness that the lax mining laws and Canada’s history of and reputation for an active interest in human rights add up to hypocrisy.

The full article is available on the VICE website.

Deneault and Sacher, as scholars and journalists, dig deeper into the issue (pun intended) in Imperial Canada Inc., illuminating the history of Canada’s extractive efforts and the development of policy over time, exposing legal battles and international confrontations along the way. The authors of Imperial Canada Inc., respected scholars in their fields, meticulously research four factors that contribute to the answer to the question of why Canada: Quebec’s and Ontario’s mining codes; the history of the Toronto Stock Exchange; Canada’s involvement with Caribbean tax havens; and, finally, Canada’s official role of promoting itself to international institutions governing the world’s mining sector.

Imperial Canada Inc. is available from Talonbooks, and more information can be found on the Imperial Canada website.

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