Canadian Pension Plan-backed companies with investments in Burma include Ivanhoe Mines, TransCanada Corp., CHC Helicopter, Power Corp., Chevron and Total.
Foreign investment in Burma has made possible huge military purchases by the ruling junta.
Despite the fact that Canada imposed sanctions on goods from Burma in 1997, imports from that country (mostly shrimp, prawns and garments) have increased by 50 per cent in recent years.
According to the UN, the junta spends 222 per cent more on the military than it does on education and health care combined.
According to Human Rights Watch, Burma has the highest number of child soldiers in the world.
Burma is responsible for an estimated 60 per cent of the world’s heroin supply, some 2,500 tonnes of raw opium worth about $1 billion (U.S.) per year. Rampant intravenous drug use has fuelled an AIDS epidemic.
An estimated 2 million Burmese refugees are living illegally on Burma’s Thai, Indian, Chinese and Bangladeshi borders.
Some 1,400 political prisoners, many of them elected MPs, students, activists and monks, have been jailed for calling for the end of military rule.