Press Release - October 5, 2004

Canadian Civil Society Groups Disappointed in G-7 Failure to Bridge Differences  to Provide Debt Relief to the Poorest Countries.

Ottawa – Canadian civil society groups in the Halifax Initiative Coalition expressed disappointment with G-7 Finance Ministers for failing to show the political will to bridge differences and cancel the debts of the poorest countries, but highlight that 100% debt cancellation is now universally acknowledged to be necessary for the poorest countries.

"Even though it is a real disappointment, the momentum is building for full debt cancellation," says Derek MacCuish, Coordinator of the Social Justice Committee. "The G-7 has now recognized what civil society organizations in Canada and around the world have been saying for decades - that the debt of the poorest countries needs to be cancelled."

Press Release - September 29, 2004

Canadian Civil Society Groups Call for Prime Minister Martin to Push for Unconditional Debt Cancellation for World’s Poorest

Ottawa – Canadian Civil Society Organizations today sent an open letter to Prime Minister Martin calling on Canada to support full debt cancellation for the poorest countries. Meetings in Washington this weekend around the World Bank and IMF fall meetings may produce a plan to deal with the crushing debts held by the poorest countries.

“Prime Minister Martin, this is a key opportunity for Canada to show the international leadership you spoke of in the lead up and during the last federal election. We hope that the Government of Canada will use this opportunity to secure a lasting solution to the debt crisis facing the poorest countries,” the letter says.

Press Release - September 16, 2004

Coalition Welcomes EDC Report, Warns Only First Step for Crown Corporation

Ottawa, September 16 – A Canadian coalition of development, environment, faith-based, human rights, and labour groups today welcomed the release of Export Development Canada’s Second Annual Chief Environmental Adviser’s Report, but warned that this is only a small step towards ensuring greater public accountability for the Crown Corporation.

“We are definitely encouraged that EDC chose to release this report for a second year running, and responded to earlier feedback by shedding a little more light on EDC’s internal workings”, said Fraser Reilly-King, Coordinator of the NGO Working Group on EDC. “But when you have to wait a year to get any substantive information relating to EDC’s environmental transactions, it becomes obvious how far they still have to go.”

Press Responses: Tuesday, August 24, 2004

David Agren
The Ottawa Citizen

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A Canadian mining company that struck a rich vein of gold in Transylvania has encountered strong opposition from environmental groups and local residents who are organizing an MTV-sponsored concert to try to thwart the development of a giant open-pit mine.

Organizers expect 2,000 protesters and fans to converge on Rosia Montana, a mineral-rich, but impoverished corner of western Romania this weekend for a concert headlined by hip-hop and alternative rock acts and a march to oppose to the project.

Press Release - Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Business as usual in more ways than one: NGOs say World Bank looks set to miss an historic moment to show that it can learn from its mistakes

Ottawa -  As World Bank staff return to work for the second day under the chilling new terrorist alert in the U.S., all efforts are being made to ensure that their work carries forward as it normally would. But NGOs are concerned that the World Bank will today decide to carry on with “business as usual” in its oil, gas and mining operations even though a World Bank commissioned report called for significant changes to how the Bank invests in mining and oil projects.

Press Responses: Friday, July 30, 2004

Corruption: Canada backs firm banned by World Bank

by Marty Logan, Inter Press Service (Johannesburg), July 30, 2004.

It is business as usual between Canadian government agencies and a local company barred from World Bank contracts after being convicted of bribery in Africa.

In September 2002, engineering firm Acres International was found guilty in the High Court in the southern African nation of Lesotho for trying to bribe the official responsible for the multi-billion-dollar World Bank-financed Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP).

Acres, based in Oakville in the province of Ontario, appealed and last year had one charge dropped. But the conviction was maintained on the second count and the firm was fined the equivalent of two million U.S. dollars.

World Bank Press Release: Friday, July 23, 2004

World Bank Sanctions Acres International Limited

World Bank News Release No: 2005/33/S

WASHINGTON, Jul. 23, 2004 – The World Bank has sanctioned Acres International Limited (Acres), a Canadian company, as a result of corrupt activities related to its Bank financed contract associated with the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). Acres was declared ineligible to receive any new Bank financed contracts for a period of three years. This action is part of the Bank’s broad anticorruption efforts initiated by President James Wolfensohn in 1996. More information on the World Bank’s overall anticorruption policies and activities can be found at:

Press Responses: July 5, 2004

Belgium clears path to developing world prosperity

David Hillman
Monday July 5, 2004
The Guardian

Tony Blair calls Africa a scar on the conscience of the world. Gordon Brown has a means for healing that scar through a doubling of aid. The chancellor says his international financing facility (IFF) is the only game in town, but so far the teams are still stuck in the dressing room.