Skip to content

Liberals back Canada-Colombia FTA

The Globe and Mail reports this morning that, “The (Canada-Colombia free trade agreement) bill now has the votes to pass through Parliament, after Trade Minister Peter Van Loan told the House of Commons Wednesday that his government will accept a (Liberal) amendment calling on Colombia and Canada to jointly produce annual reports on the human-rights impact of the deal in both countries.”

“NDP MP Peter Julian dismissed yesterday’s proposal for human rights reporting as ‘ridiculous,’ saying that only independent third parties can properly assess the situation in Colombia. He predicted an ‘avalanche’ of human rights groups will speak against the deal in committee.”

“Although the Conservative government signed the trade deal with Colombia in 2008, unions, human rights groups, the NDP and the Bloc Québécois have campaigned against it, arguing that the Uribe government has not turned around the country’s woeful human rights record.”

“Last June, (Colombian president) Uribe took the unusual step of coming to Canada to appear before a Commons committee. He met with Liberal MPs a day earlier to lobby for passage of the free trade agreement.”

“In August, (Liberal trade critic Scott) Brison and Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae went to Colombia for five days of meetings with opponents and supporters of the agreement, including sessions with Mr. Uribe and Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez.”

“(In January) in the Swiss Alps ski resort of Davos, where the world’s rich and powerful meet each year at the World Economic Forum, Brison slipped away to a room reserved for bilateral talks, and met with Uribe and Trade Minister Luis Plata. There, Mr. Brison proposed wording for a side agreement that would see Canada and Colombia commit to annual reporting on the human rights impacts of a free trade agreement.”

“(In February), Mr. Brison and Mr. Plata exchanged texts as they worked to strike a deal, clinching it in mid-March.”

To read about our campaign against the Canada-Colombia FTA, please go to http://canadians.org/CCFTA.