Canadian Diplomat Promotes Mining

Our taxes pay for lobbying for “Canadian” mining companies

By Andrea Ionescu

What is Canadian about disreputable mining companies that claim to be “Canadian,” yet do nothing but tarnish Canada`s reputation abroad, destroying and poisoning the world’s few remaining wild areas?

I had the shock of my life when I went to visit a successful grassroots organization, “Salvati Rosia Montana,” in the town of Rosia Montana, Romania. There I learned from the internationally known activist, Sorin Jurca, that the Canadian ambassador had paid him a visit, urging him to drop his campaign against Gabriel Resources, a “Canadian” mining company.

This “Canadian” mining company has tried for over 13 years to take down four forested mountains and build a dam of cyanide and heavy metal tailings—bigger than the one that recently broke at Mount Polley in British Colombia. Romania is a country prone to earthquakes and floods, and such a dam is guaranteed to break, as did happen in 2000 with the tailings dam of an Australian mining company, poisoning the water and wildlife in both Romania, Hungary, and Serbia.

Because of massive protests in Romania by tens of thousands of people, especially during the year 2013, the Romanian government was not able to let the company proceed. The population was even more outraged that Gabriel Resources, in combination with the corruptible Romanian government (which has recently stepped down) had tried to meddle with the Romanian mining legislation in order to make land expropriation easier.

As a Canadian citizen and taxpayer, I asked myself whether my tax money should pay for the salary of this ambassador, who also uses his position to lobby on behalf of a mining company owned by a small group of environmentally uneducated, greedy billionaires of various nationalities, who seem to control the global mining market.

Evan Solomon lost his job with the CBC when the news broke that he had used his position to sell art. How can a Canadian ambassador use his Canadian political position, towards which our tax money contributes, to lobby for a “Canadian” mining company that pays taxes in a tax haven?

Is that Canadian? Does it even benefit the average Canadian taxpayer?

Gabriel Resources may step out of the mining picture, although they are currently suing the Romanian government in a last effort to intimidate, but “Canadian” El Dorado Gold is still causing a mess in Romania and Greece, and more recently, “Canadian” Carpathian Gold (named after the Carpathian mountains in Romania) has stepped in, to mine in the vicinity of the area longed for by Gabriel Resources.

Canadian ambassadors help these mining companies in the search for gold, rare metals, and maximum profit—for the sake of what? Producing electronics with built-in obsolescence and no prospects for recycling their components? Is humanity that foolish?

Perhaps MiningWatchCanada and the Sierra Club of Canada should become Canada’s ambassadors of peace and environmental health to the world. In such a scenario, there may be some hope for humanity!

Andrea Ionescu is a teacher in Toronto.

Peace Magazine Jan-Mar 2016

Peace Magazine Jan-Mar 2016, page 21. Some rights reserved.

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