Peter Julian's statement on the Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement

Peter Julian's statement on the Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement

Today in the House ~ Peter’s Member’s Statement
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP):

“Mr. Speaker, just last week Amnesty International condemned the Colombia authorities for abusing the country's judicial system, “to undermine the legitimate work of human rights defenders”. More than a dozen human rights defenders and 46 trade unionists were killed by paramilitaries in 2008 alone. Double 2007. According to testimony received today at trade committee, thousands of paramilitaries with ties to the government are forcing poor peasants off the land and taking it over with the regime's complicity. More than 1,500 peasants have been massacred so far by the Colombia military as so-called “false positives”; no less than the cold-blooded murder of innocent people. Incredibly, the Conservative government is pressing ahead with a Bush-style free trade agreement with the regime. What is more incredible is that the Leader of the Opposition is supporting this trampling of human rights in the name of powerful corporate interests. The NDP is standing on the side of millions of Canadians who oppose murder, torture and human rights abuses. We oppose the blood that is on this agreement.”

Dear concerned Canadians,

The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Bill was put on Notice Paper March 24,2009.

The Harper Government believes that the killing of trade unionists, peasants and activists by para-militaries in Colombia is just business as usual. The Uribe Colombian Government may have one of the worst human records in the world; the Harper government is pushing on with the support of Michael Ignatieff and has tabled Bill C-23, the enabling legislation of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement signed in December 2008.

This agreement should be rejected by Parliament.

It is impossible to separate human rights from international trade and negotiating a free trade agreement with Colombia is no exception. Unfortunately, Michael Ignatieff is following Stephen Harper and is supporting the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Deal.

We need to double our efforts and mobilize. We are appealing to all our sisters and brothers in the trade union movement, to the grassroots as well as to our friends in civil society, to help expose and stop the Canada Colombia trade deal and Bill C-23.

The NDP rejects the Canada-Colombia free trade deal until an independent human rights impact assessment is carried out and the resulting concerns addressed. And this position is consistent with the June 2008 Report of the Standing Committee on International Trade in the previous Parliament (report attached).

Help us increase the pressure on the Harper government and the members of the Liberal Party by making your voices heard loud and clear.

Write to the Leader of the Liberal Party urging him to reconsider his party’s position and support our efforts to halt the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

Please address your emails to and please bcc our office on that email.

We will stand four-square against this repudiation of Canadian values, against Harper heartlessly providing a reward for the ongoing human rights violations of the Uribe government.

Together, we can stop what is a clear repudiation of Canadian values for human and labour rights.

We will contact you in the next few days with regards to our next steps.

Thank you!

Peter Julian, MP (Burnaby-New Westminster)
NDP International Trade Critic