Critical Role of Transparency in the Fight Against Corruption
Featuring Claire Woodside and Pierre Gratton in conversation with Akaash Maharaj
The linkages between resource revenue transparency, improved oversight, and development outcomes from extractive industries.
For governments worldwide, mining investment holds promise of change: the opportunity to increase infrastructure and social investments, and a chance to establish broad based economic growth. The past decade has witnessed a dramatic increase in resource development in many countries, particularly in the developing world. However, despite the sudden influx of resource revenues, many countries have struggled to convert this newfound wealth into economic growth and prosperity.
Unfortunately, citizens, elected officials, municipal and state governments often remain in the dark about the natural resource revenues received by their national governments from mining activity. This environment can foster corruption, mismanagement and, sometimes, conflict. As a major mining country, Canada is helping to turn this around with legislation which was tabled recently in the House of Commons that would require the mandatory disclosure of payments made by Canadian extractive companies, including mining companies, to host governments. This would result in a source of credible information that citizens can use to hold their governments accountable and fight corruption.
Akaash Maharaj, Executive Director of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, will moderate a discussion between two organizations that have been pushing Canada to implement mining payment transparency legislation a unique collaboration between industry and civil society. Join Claire Woodside of Publish What You Pay Canada, Pierre Gratton of the Mining Association of Canada, and Akaash Maharaj for this important discussion.
Claire Woodside is the Director of Publish What You Pay Canada and a board member of Transparency International Canada. Drawing upon her background in political science and international development, including an M.A. from Dalhousie and doctoral studies at NPSIA ,Carleton, Claire works to create a more transparent and accountable global extractive sector. Through her role with PWYP, she has the opportunity to engage with governments, industry and civil society in Canada, including PWYP Canada’s members, while also collaborating with PWYP coalitions across the globe. Claire has been working with PWYP since 2008, but has held her currently position since 2012. She is the author of Lifting the Veil: Exploring the Transparency of Canadian Companies and continues to support PWYP Canada’s work to improve access to public information on extractive companies. She brings to the position over ten years of experience working and researching on issues related to the extractive sector and responsible resource governance.
Pierre Gratton was appointed President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada, MAC, on June 1, 2011. Based in Ottawa, MAC is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members are engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi fabrication.
Prior to his appointment to MAC, Pierre was President and CEO of Mining Association of British Columbia, MABC. From 1999 to 2008, Mr. Gratton served as Vice President, Sustainable Development and Public Affairs for the Mining Association of Canada, MAC. In 2005 to 06, Mr. Gratton was honoured as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, CIM.
Mr. Gratton is First Vice President of the Interamerican Mining Society, SIM: Sociedad Interamericana de Mineria. He is also Vice President of the Raw Materials Committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD.
Mr. Gratton holds an M.A. degree in political science and a B.A. from McGill University.
Mr. Gratton is married and has one daughter.
Akaash Maharaj is the professional leader of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, GOPAC, the international alliance of democratically elected parliamentarians, working together to combat corruption, strengthen good government, and uphold the rule of law. GOPAC has 50 national chapters across the world, each of which is composed of both government and opposition legislators.
A frequent contributor to international debate, his articles have been published by newspapers in every populated continent, and he has appeared as a regular broadcast essayist with TVO’s The Agenda. Maclean’s, Canada’s largest newsmagazine, named him one of Canada’s 50 most well known and respected personalities. Outside of his professional life, he is an international athlete, and was a triple gold medallist at the International Championships of Equestrian Skill at Arms. He also led the Canadian Equestrian Team and federation as CEO during the team’s most successful Olympics, Paralympics, and World Equestrian Games of all time.
Akaash earned his MA from Oxford University, in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and was the first overseas student elected President of OUSU, the student government, in the history of the 900 year old University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
He has been decorated twice in Canada’s national honours, for his work on peace in the Middle East and for his service to the integrity of Canadian and international sport.
An active volunteer, Akaash has taught adult literacy, has served as a director on a range of international development and local community boards, and has been particularly involved with UNICEF’s efforts on childhood and maternal welfare. He is fluent in English and French.
The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.