The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A veteran Liberal backbencher is taking a federal Liberal minister to task for failing to give real teeth to a new watchdog who is supposed to investigate human rights abuses by Canadian companies operating abroad.
Toronto MP John McKay has for decades campaigned for just such a watchdog.
But he says the recently created position of Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) falls short of what's needed because the watchdog has not been given the power to compel company executives to testify or to produce documents.
McKay took his criticism directly to Mary Ng, minister of small business, export promotion and international trade, during a House of Commons committee meeting Tuesday.
His criticism was echoed by opposition members of the committee.
Ng maintains that the ombudsperson, Sheri Meyerhoffer, has sufficient tools to do her job effectively: she can shame companies by publicly reporting her findings and can recommend that they be cut off from government services, such as consular support or financial support from Export Development Canada.