The members of Collectif Ressources d’Afrique, Édition Écosociété and their editorial board out of Montreal have been served with a SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) by Canadian mining company Barrick Gold in light of the release of their upcoming publication, Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique.
The book launch for Noir Canada, edited by Alain Denault and the Collectif Ressources d’Afrique, was cancelled April 11, 2008, when the authors and publishers (Édition Écosociété) received letters from a law firm representing Barrick Gold. The letters alledgedly refer to apparent inaccuracies in the book.
Noir Canada is a synthesis and analysis of national and international documents (reports, books, documentaries…) detailing numerous corporate abuses implicating a number of Canadian companies in Africa, which operate with the “unfailing help of the Canadian government”.
The list of corporate abuses is long: advantageous mining contracts in the DRC, partnerships with arms dealers and mercenaries in the Great Lakes region, miners buried alive in Tanzania, an “involuntary genocide” by poisoning in Mali, brutal expropriations in Ghana, using people from the Ivory Coast for pharmaceutical testing, devastating hydroelectric projects in Senegal, the savage privatization of the railway system in West Africa…
The debate the book aims to bring into the public sphere is all the more legitimised by the regular re-investment of Canadian public funds (retirement funds, RRSPs, etc.) in these companies via the Toronto Stock Exchange.
From a press release which came out Saturday, April 12th from the Collectif: “It is understood that the financial means of a powerful mining company, compared to that of the researchers who prepared the book, permits the company to proceed by intimidation.”
(Source : le Collectif Ressources d’Afrique, Montréal, le 12 avril 2008)
A previous report on the release of this book can be listened to via Horizon2, an earlier podcast of the interview with the author airing on CIBL Radio-Montreal – 101,5 FM.