Walking the Talk: Human Rights Abroad
Dear friends, There continue to be concerns about the behaviour of some Canadian corporations abroad. Canada must make the changes that would help ensure that our legal institutions and system are able to protect from impunity not just Canadians, but also citizens living abroad when they are victims of human, environmental or labour rights violations by Canadian individuals or corporations. Canada’s federal government has failed to do so.
I have reintroduced Bill C-323 (formerly Bill C-354) in the hope that we will continue to work together to raise awareness and increase the pressure on the Conservative government to take the bold steps Bill C-323 proposes. There are companies that do conduct their business in a socially responsible manner. However, there are others that have no regard for human, environmental or labour rights.
Currently, these rights are subject to few concrete or effective enforcement mechanisms. As a result, there is an urgent need to create an enforceable legal mechanism to remedy egregious violations of international human rights.
Sadly, even modest legislative proposals to bring to account corporate impunity have been rejected by successive federal governments. I believe that my Bill C-323 (The International Protection & Promotion of Human Rights Act) would fill this need for the victims of international human rights violations when no forum is available to them in the country where the violations are taking place. As you may know, Bill C-323 would provide international communities with the option to pursue legal recourse in Canadian federal courts, which would include clear violations of international human and environmental rights such as: degrading treatment, arbitrary arrest, kidnapping, infliction of emotional distress, genocide, war crimes, extrajudicial killing, slavery, torture and unlawful detention. C-323 would create a new civil cause of action that would allow the Federal Courts to hear and decide claims for violations of international law that occur outside of Canada. Specifically, the legislation would allow non-citizens to sue Canadians and Canadian corporations for gross violations of basic human, environmental or labour rights when they are committed outside of Canada.
In keeping with our common goals, I look forward to continuing the good work we have undertaken together in previous parliaments. Together we can bring about these positive changes to help Canada progress and lead, at home and abroad, in the field of human rights and environmental sustainability.
Peter Julian, MP Burnaby-New Westminster