Canadian church representatives and Native People will bring to New York, on Thursday, their struggle for a public inquiry into the actions of the Canadian subsidiary of a Connecticut-based multinational corporation.
Amax of Canada has proposed to dump 100 million metric tonnes of tailings from its molybdenum mine, into coastal waters of British Columbia over 26 years. The amount of the tailings, and their toxicity, exceed by thousands of times the amount allowed by federal regulations in Canada. Permission to exceed Government standards was granted by a special Order-in-Council of the Federal Cabinet, without discussion on the floor of Parliament, or in any public inquiry. In addition, there was no prior consultation with the Nishga Tribal Council about the ecological or sociological impact of the action. The Nishga are the Native People of the area who depend on the waters for food and their livelihood.
Several prominent environmental scientists have condemned the dumpings, and a political storm has resulted. In the face of this, the Federal Government has refused to rescind its Order, or to call a public inquiry.
In response to this situation the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, its highest governing body, at its meetings in June last year, passed a strong resolution, ordering that "...the Primate, urge the Federal Government to withdraw its special order-in-council; that is, the 'Alice Arm Tailings Deposit Regulations, SOR 79-345,' permitting the Amax Corporation to dump its effluent into Alice Arm, and to declare a moratorium upon development of the resource until technology is developed to safely dispose of the tailings."
This has resulted in public meetings, media coverage, a petition to the Federal Government, meetings between the Nishga, Church officials and Amax management, but no public inquiry.
The Church at various levels has purchased 1,004 shares in Amax, and will appear at the Annual Meeting in New York on Thursday at 2:15 p.m. at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to make intervention on behalf of its concerns and those of the Native People of the area, most of whom are Anglicans (Episcopalians).
The Nishga Tribal Council will hold a Media Conference on:
The National Executive Council of the Anglican Church of Canada has asked the members of that church to boycott all products produced by the Nestle company and its subsidiaries, and to write to the company and state why they are doing so.
This action links the Anglicans with numerous other churches and ecumenical groups in Canada and around the world which have already taken the same action in protest against Nestle's refusal to stop high-pressure promotion of infant formula in third world countries.
Background information and material about the protest and boycott was sent to every Anglican parish in Canada in July. A copy of that material is enclosed.
Two on-land spills of toxic mine tailings in less than a week, surprisingly high support at the Amax annual shareholders' meeting in New York and an interim report from the McInerney Scientific Review Panel which confirms many of the long-range fears of the Nishga Indians, environmental groups and church bodies ... a scenario which developed quickly in the past few days has prompted renewed cries for a public inquiry into the Amax Corporation's mine operation in Kitsault, British Columbia.
Archbishop E.W. Scott, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has sent another strong request to the Federal Government to "set up a public inquiry...as quickly as possible. In am convinced," the Archbishop continued, "such an inquiry would be in the best interests of the governments concerned, the Amax Company, the Nishga people and the general public."
The Primate's telex was sent on Tuesday, May 12th, to the Prime Minister; the Ministers of the Environment; Federal Fisheries and Oceans; and Indian and Northern Affairs.
The full text of the Archbishop's telex is enclosed.
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For further information, please contact:
Consultant in National Affairs
Richard J. Berryman
Anglican Church of Canada
600 Jarvis Street
Toronto, Ont. M4Y 2J6
May 12, 1981
In the light of the Amax shareholders' action last week in New York whereby 1.5 million shares were voted in favour of our resolution calling for a moratorium and full public inquiry into the Kitsault marine disposal of tailings and a further 16 million abstained; and in the light of national public opinion and the many serious doubts raised by the McInerney interim report which confirms the validity of the fears expressed by the Nishga Tribal Council re the potential damage to marine life and human health, I again urge you to set up a public inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act as quickly as possible. I am convinced such an inquiry would be in the best interests of the governments concerned, the Amax Company, the Nishga people and the general public.
"Winner of the ninth annual Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy". Results of a year spent "investigating the impact of government cutbacks and changing giving patterns on Canada's voluntary sector. Charity today is far removed from the stereotypical image of the outstretched tin cup and the collection plate, but the public has little knowledge of its scope and importance. The voluntary sector not only lends a hand to the destitute, it provides a social anchor for the general public and it is a key component of the Canadian economy. Governments and businesses are increasingly turning to charities to take up some of the biggest challenges of the 21st century, including job creation, redistributive social welfare and building a sense of community". -- p. 2.
That the Diocese of Caledonia and the Council of the Haida Nation be supported by calling on the Governments of British Columbia and Canada to initiate a full public enquiry, providing standing and adequate intervenor funding for all affected parties, to review the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the Cinola Gold Project on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) before the mine goes into production. CARRIED WITHOUT DEBATE Act 80
A small task group of representatives of Program, Long Range Planning and A&F Committees had met as requested by NEC (November 1972), and recommended:
a) That the issue of the Church and Corporate Social Responsibility should go to General Synod 1973;
b) that the recommendations, as revised, should be presented as resolutions to General Synod;
c) that the Brian Fraser paper should go as a resource accompanying the resolutions to General Synod (the Chairman of the A&F Committee dissenting).
Mr. Raymond, on behalf of the Program Committee, presented its recommendations.
That General Synod authorize the Program Committee to establish a unit on corporate social responsibility, with membership approved by National Executive Council, which would -
A. Be responsible for developing programs and policies reflecting the Church's view with respect to corporate policies and practices including the following areas:
(i) the problem of environment, eg. pollution;
(ii) the pursuit of justice and amelioration of racism in world development;
(iii) support of just and equitable national development;
(iv) the reduction of armaments production;
(v) equality for minority and oppressed groups;
(vi) adequate housing, health and welfare.
B. Be authorized to receive proxy and corporate statements and to examine these in the light of the Church's concern in the above areas.
C. Be authorized to consult corporate management, to attend and represent the General Synod at shareholders' meetings, and to vote the shares in the name of the Synod.
D. Attempt to engage other concerned groups - dioceses, institutions and other churches - in exploring joint research, strategy and action.
E. Be required to report regularly to the NEC and General Synod, through the Program Committee.
That the action of General Synod in establishing a unit on corporate social responsibility, and resources on this subject, be made available to dioceses, parishes, interested persons, for their study and consideration.
On behalf of the A&F Committee, Mr. Donald requested that Resolution I be amended to read:
"That General Synod authorize the National Executive Council to establish a unit on social responsibility, which would -
A. Be responsible for developing criteria, policies and programs reflecting the Church's view on social problems, including those in the following areas:
(i) environment, eg. pollution;
(ii) justice and amelioration of racism in world development;
(iii) just and equitable national development;
(iv) establishing and maintaining equality of opportunity and treatment for minority and opporessed groups;
(v) lack of adequate housing, health and welfare;
(vi) control of armament production.
B.(1) Be authorized to consult with corporate directors and officers, to attend and represent General Synod at shareholders' meetings, and to vote the shares in the name of the Synod.
(2) Be authorized to consult with government and union authorities, and any other interested bodies or persons, in order to achieve its objectives.
C. Join with other concerned groups - dioceses, institutions, and other churches - in exploring joint research, strategy and action.
D. Be authorized to take other action such as publicity, in consultation with the Primate, of its position as seems appropriate.
E. Report regularly to NEC."
He also requested that Resolution II be amended to read:
"That the action of General Synod in establishing a unit on social responsibility, and resources on this subject, be made available to dioceses, parishes, interested persons, for their study and consideration."
Moved by Smith, seconded by Owen,
That Item D. of the amendment be added to Resolution I as presented by the Program Committee. CARRIED
Moved by Smith, seconded by Davis,
That Resolutions I and II, presented by the Administration and Finance Committee, be substituted. CARRIED
Moved by Smith, seconded by Brown,
That the word "Corporate" be deleted from the title. CARRIED
Moved by Scott, seconded by Gibson,
That the word "Public" be inserted in the title. CARRIED
That NEC adopt the report of the Program Committee entitled "The Church and Corporate Social Responsibility," and accepts the amendments proposed by the A&F Committee in its report thereon, and that this report, as amended, form part of its report to General Synod. CARRIED
NB - In line with the two former motions, the title of the report was changed to "The Church and Public Social Responsibility."
That the Council of General Synod commend the following to the Eco-Justice Committee for action, implementation, and report back to the Council at its May 2006 meeting:
i) Eco-Justice request KAIROS to research the activities of companies believed to be contributing to ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine, as well as companies contributing to ongoing peace and economic stability in the region;
ii) That, in light of KAIROS findings, Eco-Justice, with the FMD [Financial Management and Development] Investment Sub-committee, continue to explore a range of socially responsible investment strategies, including corporate engagement and positive investment or divestment;
iii) That suggested strategies be recommended to the Council of General Synod, the Pensions Committee, the Board of PWRDF, and the Directors of the Anglican Foundation, for consideration and any appropriate action. CARRIED #22-11-05