Local agronomist and Frente de Defensa Miguelense (FREDEMI) activist Aniseto López points to a tunnel entrance at Goldcorp’s extensive Marlin Mine in the northern highlands of Guatemala. One of CIRDI’s key supporters and a major donor to both UBC and SFU, Vancouver-based Goldcorp is accused of a litany of abuses at its sites in Guatemala, including contamination of the local water sources.

Local agronomist and Frente de Defensa Miguelense (FREDEMI) activist Aniseto López points to a tunnel entrance at Goldcorp’s extensive Marlin Mine in the northern highlands of Guatemala. One of CIRDI’s key supporters and a major donor to both UBC and SFU, Vancouver-based Goldcorp is accused of a litany of abuses at its sites in Guatemala, including contamination of the local water sources.

The Canadian International Resources and Development Institute – CIRDI – is a Harper Conservatives-commissioned, university-hosted think tank to support the competitive advantage of mining, oil, and gas companies based in Canada. It’s mandated to advise resource-rich countries (that are of interest to Canada-based transnational mining companies) on their policies, legislation, and regulatory implementation – to the benefit of the Canadian miners, and often adversarial to the expressed will of the people most affected by the extractive projects.

The federal government initially funded the Institute $25M over the first five years, and it’s expected to find 100% of its funding from industrial partners after that. In the final months of the Conservative government’s regime, CIRDI was awarded another $15.3M for an undisclosed project in Ethiopia. Its current partners have already pledged millions toward CIRDI programming, and our universities have contributed cash and in-kind donations.

Oversight of this industry and investigation into alleged abuses are needed, but they must be independent. We’ve been urging our universities to just close CIRDI unless a complete overhaul of its mandate, partner network, and organizational structure would ensure that

  • CIRDI becomes completely free of corporate involvement,
  • CIRDI becomes directly responsible to communities impacted by extractive projects, and
  • those partnering with CIRDI must have complete freedom to publish findings critical of Canada’s extractive sector.

Students, staff, faculty of UBC and SFU: individually and through your unions & organizations, please urge your university’s president and board of governors to oversee a critical review of CIRDI, and if it doesn’t pass muster, to find a way to expel it from the university.

Canadians, and civil society organizations: please urge Prime Minister Trudeau (email), and Ministers Marie-Claude Bibeau (international development), Stéphane Dion (foreign affairs), and Chrystia Freeland (international trade) to cancel CIRDI’s funding and to recall the mandate of this poorly considered remnant of Harper’s regressive regime.

CIRDI staff, please feel free to send us information on projects, financing, partners, and any other nonsense that you observe within the mining institute.

Contact us at info@stoptheinstitute.ca to find out about upcoming organizing meetings and events, to request documents you can’t otherwise find on our Resources or Access to Information pages, to volunteer your time organizing events, or to write blog posts addressing the inappropriate links between our universities and the mining, oil, and gas industries.

Harper's CIRDI Mining Institute: secretive, opaque, and unaccountable