We’re indignant. We expect better. As students, as researchers, as Canadians, as global citizens accountable to our neighbors, we demand of our universities and of our federal government that CIRDI:
Is free of corporate involvement. No extractive sector corporations or industry associations should be directly or indirectly involved or associated with the institute. CIRDI should receive no funding or in-kind contributions from corporations or industry groups.
Is directly responsive and accountable to communities directly impacted by extractive projects, and the majority of leadership/decision-making positions be held by people from mining affected communities, particularly from civil society. Rather than CIRDI’s current industry-driven mandate to impose Canada’s mining interests on so-called ‘developing’ countries, any Canadian academic and/or policy initiatives related to extraction should recognize mine-affected communities’ long standing calls for:
- respect for their rights to free, prior, and informed consent—which necessarily includes the right to legislate against or reject a given extractive project or activity.
- Canadian laws that regulate the activities of Canadian companies to ensure these corporations can be held accountable in Canadian courts for violations committed elsewhere.
- local autonomy that is free from Canadian ‘diplomatic’, economic, and military pressure promoting Canada’s extractive interests, or of coercive pressure (economic, diplomatic, military, etc) of any other government or group on behalf of Canadian extractive interests.
Failing these standards, we call for the complete dissolution of this project by the federal government, and the immediate closure of CIRDI and its activities by our universities.