Last month Export Development Canada released its climate change policy. The policy does not commit the agency to reducing the billions of dollars in support it provides the oil and gas sector each year.
In May, 120,000 people in northwestern Colombia were endangered by the potential collapse of a hydroelectric dam being developed by Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM), a client of Canada’s export credit agency. EPM is currently under investigation for possible corruption and environmental damage linked to the project.
As leaders of the world’s richest countries gather at the G7 summit today, Canada’s prime minister intends to push for a commitment on climate change in the meeting’s final statement. But the government’s slow progress on a 2009 pledge to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies raises questions about Canada’s own commitment to cut emissions.
Last month 13 people protesting the expansion of a copper smelter owned by Vedanta Limited were shot and killed by police in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Vedanta Ltd. is financed by the Canadian government despite being blacklisted on human rights and environmental grounds by many investors.
Above Ground has long questioned Export Development Canada’s assessment of environmental and human rights risks posed by its clients' operations. Now the auditor general is warning there are “significant deficiencies” in the agency’s overall management of risk.
Ongoing media coverage regarding the sale of a Bombardier jet to the Gupta family has triggered an important public debate about the accountability and transparency of Export Development Canada. With Parliament set to review EDC’s governing legislation this year, the timing for such a discussion could not be better.