Goldcorp donation to UVic a cruel irony
I wish to express my great disappointment that the University of Victoria has been the willing recipient of a $500 000 donation from Goldcorp Inc. to support the school’s Centre for Social and Sustainable Innovation (CSSI).
Last year, Goldcorp was found guilty of contaminating the environment, damaging human health and violating rights to self-determination of mining-impacted communities in Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. This ruling came from a panel of international judges at the International Health Tribunal.
This controversial donation is particularly ironic given the CSSI mantra of “adopting sustainable and responsible approaches to business,” as reported in a UVic communications press release. It smells more like corporate green-washing within a slick corporate public relations campaign.
Canadian transnational mining companies continue to operate with impunity, despite links to human rights abuses and environmental contamination, including the unlawful acquisition of indigenous territories.
Last year, the federal government announced a new funding initiative for the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development, which will be jointly operated by Simon Fraser University and UBC.
Where do we draw the line in public universities to ensure that funding opportunities do not diminish morals and autonomy? Has the University of Victoria already crossed that line?
Demanding answers on missing and murdered aboriginal women
Over the past several decades, a tragedy has quietly unfolded in our own backyard: disturbingly high rates of aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered.
While indigenous women and girls account for 10 per cent of all female homicides in Canada, they make up just 3 per cent of our female population. About 85 per cent of all homicides are solved by police investigations, but that “clearance rate” drops to just 50 per cent when the victim is an aboriginal woman or girl.
Our indifference towards this injustice must end. That’s why the federal Liberal Party has been pushing for years for a transparent National Public Inquiry to get to the bottom of these cases. Yet each time we advanced the idea, we were rebuffed.
Finally there is a breakthrough: Parliament has passed a Liberal motion with the support of all parties to create a special Parliamentary committee to look into these cases and to find ways to address the root causes of this intolerable violence.
While we still firmly believe that a National Public Inquiry is needed, this is a small but important first step. It is high time to provide justice for the victims, healing for their families and an end to the violence.
Carolyn Bennett, MP
Liberal Party of Canada Aboriginal Affairs Critic