The Canadian government reaffirmed its support of the Falkland Islands and their right to self determination, according to a report from the Canadian edition of The Wall Street Journal.
Apparently Gold miner Barrick Gold Corp has lobbied Ottawa over its support for the Falklands Islands, “wading into a centuries’ old controversy and highlighting the increased complexities of doing business in Argentina, the country that claims sovereignty over the south Atlantic Islands”.
The WSJ reports that this week, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird revealed that the world’s largest gold producer had lobbied the government over its position supporting the right of Falkland Islanders to retain the territory’s status as a UK Overseas Territory.
The Falklands have been under British rule and now under UK defence protection since 1833, a status quo the three thousand-plus Islanders say they want to keep. Argentina claims that when becoming independent at the beginning of the XIXth century it inherited the Malvinas from the Spanish empire
The Canadian government supports the Islanders position and at April’s Summit of the Americas in Colombia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stymied an Argentine request to get the Falkland’s issue onto the meeting of heads of state’s concluding communiqué.
Foreign Minister Baird told reporters that Barrick, which has two gold mines in Argentina, had “raised a concern” about the government’s position among other matters. The lobbying appears to have had little effect in Ottawa.
“The issue of Canada’s policy does not change, we support the self-determination of the people of the Falkland Islands, as we do people everywhere around the world” Mr. Baird said, according to a transcript of the comments.
“Barrick is registered to lobby on various matters that affect our business… they include: mining, taxation, international trade, international relations and finance” a Barrick spokesman said, according to the WSJ piece.
Under President Cristina Fernandez Buenos Aries has been putting pressure on companies that deal with the Falklands Islands and the U.K., banning any shipping from Argentine ports to the Islands and demanding local companies to boycott British goods.
It has also threatened with legal action against all those companies, and their logistics support including financial and banking, involved in the Falklands’ oil industry.
The Argentine decision was also communicated to the stock exchanges where the Falklands’ licensed oil companies or farm-ins shares are traded. Nevertheless several companies from the US, UK and Europe have associated with the exploration companies operating in Falklands’ waters.
Last December at a Mercosur summit in Uruguay, Argentina received the solidarity from the South American continent to ban docking in regional ports of all those vessels flying the ‘pirate’ flag of the Falklands.