Here is our response to their letter:
Montréal, September 2nd, 2014
Robert Astley, Canada’s Pension Plan Investment Board
Thank you for your response to our initial letter regarding the divestment campaign launched by the Projet Accompagnement Québec Guatemala and the Council of Canadians. This campaign invites individual contributors to group pension plans to call for the withdrawal of investments made by CPP Investment Board and other investors from Canadian mining companies Goldcorp Inc. and Tahoe Resources Inc.
In your response you explain that it is preferable to act as a responsible shareholder than to divest in order to maintain influence over the companies involved and to encourage responsible corporate attitudes on their part. We understand the relevance of this position and would be interested in knowing more about the initiatives you have taken in the past or plan to take in the future to this end, acting as a responsible shareholder in Goldcorp and Tahoe Resources. We believe, however, that the seriousness of the abuses in question calls for a much stronger response.
Moreover, we must reiterate the alarming character of the allegations of human rights violations and environmental damage brought against Goldcorp and Tahoe Resources in Guatemala as well as in other countries. We must point out that the findings of national and international human rights organizations, as well as the conclusions reached by independent company analysts show a serious situation of environmental and human rights abuses. In fact, Goldcorp and Tahoe Resources were both found guilty of numerous serious crimes by the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal at the end of May 2014. The jury, made up of specialists, professors and senior research fellows from a number of countries, placed particular emphasis on the serious human rights abuses committed by Tahoe Resources and Goldcorp in Guatemala and Honduras.
It should also be emphasized that since June 17, 2014 Tahoe Resources has been the subject of a lawsuit in Canadian court over events surrounding a violent confrontation which occurred in May 2013. At the time of the events, private security employed by Tahoe Resources opened fire on peaceful demonstrators opposed to their Escobal project, seriously injuring seven and disfiguring a young man.
In addition to the legal case, there is also the risk tied to the mineral exploitation license at the Escobal mine. While the license was granted to Tahoe Resources in 2013, it is currently being challenged in a Guatemalan court as its grant was made in violation of existing legal procedures.
Given these circumstances, we wish to reiterate our deep concern with respect to the mining operations that this public sector pension plan is helping to finance. We will continue through The Money Thread campaign to invite the public to become better informed and to call for CPP Investment Board to divest from Canadian mining companies Goldcorp Inc. and Tahoe Resources Inc.