I do not watch the Canadian Broadcast Company (CBC). Seems nobody else around the office does either. Personally I find the idea of a government-run radio and/or TV network repulsive—smacks of big brother. And a waste of money, apparently a billion dollars a year.
I am told the CBC broadcast an attack on the mining industry the other night. That is what is wrong with government broadcast systems: they get high-jacked by committed idealists who then have free reign to attack, unsubjected to economic constraints. In the old days in South Africa, the government radio and TV supported the biblical right of the whites to oppress the blacks as hewers of wood and carriers of water. Plus they would not broadcast opera, after a complaint that it is lewd and lascivious, featuring buxomous ladies with low-cut dresses–or worse, men in tights.
A mining watchdog agency that was supposed to hold Canadian companies accountable for their actions overseas has done little to protect communities abroad, critics say. In October 2009, the federal government appointed a corporate social responsibility counsellor to probe complaints about Canadian companies committing abuses in developing countries. The Toronto-based office, however, has only received two complaints in the past two years — one of which was recently dropped because the mining corporation chose not to undergo the voluntary investigation. Lawyer Murray Klippenstein is pursuing other avenues to hold Canadian companies accountable. CBC“The whole counsellor position is toothless,” said Toronto-based lawyer Murray Klippenstein who is involved in a case against a Canadian mining company. “It’s basically a whitewash .… It’s a bogus PR job, as a cover for business as usual.”
Murray Klippenstien is trying to grow rich suing HudBay Minerals for a dubious case long ago in Guatemala that occurred before HudBay bought the property. He says:
Eleven Guatemalan women allege that they were gang raped in 2007 by security guards forcibly removing them from the Mayan community of Lote Ocho near the Fenix nickel mine. HudBay did not own the mine at the time of the incident, but is named because it later bought the mine.
That insight and activism, well-reported on CBC, is what the taxpayer gets for the $650,000 a year budget to fund the government’s mining watchdog agency and a billion dollars a year to fund the CBC. Where is the Canadian Tea Party when you need them? Why do the Occupy Wall Street protestors not protest about such government profligacy? Think what a billion plus a year could do to help the poor who are protesting. I saw no radios in their tents when I passed by at lunch today.
Then the CBC goes back to Bill C-300. We are told:
he MP from the Toronto riding of Scarborough-Guildwood tried unsuccessfully to make Canada-based mining corporations more accountable for their actions abroad. His private member’s bill would’ve given the federal government the authority to scrutinize the companies’ behaviour and deny them federal funds if they committed abuses. But the bill was narrowly defeated last October after a strong lobby effort by mining companies who argued legislation would hurt their reputations with frivolous claims and make them less competitive with extra regulations. The official lobbyist registry shows that lobbyists met nearly 300 times with cabinet ministers, MPs and senior civil servants leading up to the House of Commons vote.
Recall democracy means accepting the majority vote. And any rate even the Liberals had not the courage to vote in that bill—no wonder they got trounced in the last election. No principles, no courage, no leadership.
I am not defending the Canadian mining industry carte blanche. It has its blemishes. In my mind the biggest is mining nickel in Cuba—an unethical act if ever there was one. But to brand an entire industry on the basis of the actions of a defunct mining venture in a place like Guatemala is biased and as prejudicial as it comes. To blame an entire industry when even the official opposition could not rouse themselves from slumber and sloth to vote is also plain bad journalism. When faced with toothless, overfunded government boondoggles, they should attack the tools, not the workers.
About the only insightful call in the CBC broadcat was that now Canadian mining companies must take the lead in managing conflict at mines in corrupt and ill-governed countries. Damn it! Obama can’t deal with Afganistan, how can a mere mining company deal with the rest. Harper has rightly pulled Canada out of said badly run country. Does the CBC want Harper and Canadian forces in other badly run countries besides? That is a demand well-enough made by an advocacy group–but made by a taxpayer funded propoganda outfit?
I look forward to hearing rebuttal on my views. Please comment below.