Letter to the Honourable Ralph Goodale Re: Extension to EIR comment period - July 6, 2004

July 6, 2004

The Honourable Ralph Goodale
Minister of Finance
L'Esplanade Laurier, East Tower, 21st Floor
140 O'Connor Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G5

RE: Request for Canada to call for an extension of EIR Comment Period

Dear Minister Goodale,

On June 18, the World Bank Group Management released Draft Management Responses to the World Bank Group Extractive Industries Review, the OED/OEG/OEU Evaluation of Extractive Industries, and the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman Report. We appreciate that the World Bank Board requested the release of these documents for public comments.

Unfortunately, these drafts were available only in English during almost half of the allotted comment period. Ironically, one of the key recommendations in all three reports is to continue to improve public participation and access to information on various different levels.

Therefore, we would like the Bank to postpone the 30 days deadline for public comments until the Draft Management Responses to the World Bank Group EIR, the OED/OEG/OEU Evaluation and the CAO Report are translated into Arabic, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian. This would mean that the comment period would be extended until August 1, 2004 at the earliest.

Canada’s Official Languages Act ensures that both the French and English languages have equality of status and equality of rights. We feel that Canada can play an important role through its Executive Director’s office by supporting the extension of the comment period.

The World Bank’s response to this request will be for us one of the indicators of how seriously the World Bank takes public participation and access to information when it comes to the extractive industries.

Yours Sincerely,

John Mihevc,
Halifax Initiative Coalition
Ottawa, Ontario

Additional signatories:

Jim Kirkwood,
Toronto, Ontario

Mary Durran
Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
Montréal, Québec

Viviane Weitzner
Senior Researcher
The North-South Institute
Ottawa, Ontario

Dr. Bonnie Campbell,
“Groupe de recherche sur les activités minières en Afrique”
Faculté de Science politique et de Droit
Université du Québec à Montréal
Montréal, Quebec

Dorothée Gizenga Ngolo,
Programme Officer
Partenariat Afrique Canada/ Partnership Africa Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
Barbara Wood
Executive Director,
CoDevelopment Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia


Marcel Massé, Executive Director,
Canadian Executive Director’s Office, World Bank Group
MC-12-175, 1818 H St. N.W.,
Washington, DC 20433, U.S.A.