Alain Deneault and William Sacher . Imperial Canada Inc. Legal Haven of Choice for the World’s Mining Industries 2012. Talonbooks, Vancouver, Canada

Review by Theresa Wolfwood

 

“This book is intended to provide Canadians and international public opinion with tools to help it ask critical questions about Canadian activities in the south and in Eastern Europe, as well as about the role of the Canadian government in relation to these activities.”

This meticulously documented analysis- really an exposé – provides the background and historical context for Canada’s role in supporting the exploitation by mining industries around the world.  What Liberia is to shipping companies, Canada is for mining companies. We offer the flag of convenience to mining companies which flock here to enjoy our lax and generous mining regulations. The mining industry within Canada and those operating outside our borders – with little scrutiny or monitoring- have consistently had and continue to have the political and economic support of our governments. 75% of mining companies in the world are registered in Canada.

As the authors note these companies have created an ugly picture of Canada to many farmers, indigenous peoples and workers as these companies, “are said to have contributed in one way or another to conflicts that have placed millions of people in jeopardy and have led to deaths, systemic rape, the forced recruitment of child soldiers and legions of refugees.” 

Indeed the Canadian flag is burned in many places in anger over the social and environmental degradation resulting from ‘our’ mines. In Guatemala, I am told, never admit you are a Canadian – hide that maple leaf.

Deneault and Talonbooks’ publisher spoke recently in Victoria, not only about the subject matter of this book but also about the ‘libel chill’ that strikes anyone who writes critically about our mining industry. Corporations have vast financial and legal resources to sue anyone with courage to give them bad press and they willingly use these(tax-free) resources.

The book goes into Canada’s past colonial history, as a colony and a colonizer, as Canada became a place to exploit and export resources for European powers. In the present neo-colonial era, we continue to be an economic colony ruled by NAFTA as we act like a colonizer around the world.

 

Along with Yves Engler’s books, including his latest, The Ugly Canadian, Imperial Canada Inc. provides us with information and analysis to challenge our foreign and economic policies and actions. In the conclusions, the authors call on us to face the truth about what is really done in our name worldwide and at home and to create, support, and sustain a public independent network that lobbies politicians as it investigates the actions of protected corporations and raises public awareness about mining companies and friendly governments, including our own. As citizens we have a grave responsibility to challenge and change policies and actions that cause injustice, conflict, death, injury, fear and social and environmental destruction at home and abroad.

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Photo of author, Alain Deneault, at book signing in Victoria, Feb. 2013 by reviewer

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