INTERNATIONAL POLITICS/CANADIAN LABOUR:
CLC STATEMENT AGAINST THE CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT:
The following is the official statement from the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) about the proposed Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement that will likely come up on the order bill in this session of Parliament. Colombia is, of course, the "deadliest" nation in the world for trade unionists today, not necessarily because of government expression but because of official tolerance of extra-judicial murder. Here's the CLC statement.
Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement a Betrayal of Commitments
The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement appears to be moving toward reality in this session of Parliament unless Canadians speak out loudly and contact their Member of Parliament.
The government reintroduced legislation to implement the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement on March 9. Debating the new bill in Parliament on March 24, the Liberal trade critic Scott Brison proposed an amendment that was accepted by the government and could fast-track the bill’s passage.
A bad bill just gets worse with this amendment. In 2008, an all-party Commons Committee recommended that an impartial human rights impact assessment by a competent body before Canada even considers ratifying a trade agreement with Colombia.
With the proposed amendment, the trade agreement would be implemented and Colombia will assess its own human rights record and report on it annually.
The Colombian government has already been preparing its own reports on labour rights violations for the International Labour Organization for decades, and yet the murder of trade unionists persists. 45 trade unionists were killed in 2009, maintaining Colombia’s dubious record of being the most dangerous country to be a trade union leader.
The Colombian government is deeply mired in human rights violations. Asking a country which allows its security forces to engage in the murder of its own citizens, as documented by the UN High Commission for Human Rights in a November 2008 report, to assess its own human rights record is a mockery. This is no where near the independent human rights assessment that unions and human rights organizations, and indeed Canada’s parliamentarians called for in 2008.
The Canadian Labour Congress calls on all Members of Parliament to vote no to free trade with Colombia.