Evidence of meeting #43 for International Trade in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was report.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

1:05 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

But he didn't give her a chance to answer. That's my point of order.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Merrifield

—and questioners can ask the way they wish. We'll leave it at that.

Go ahead, Mr. Holder.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

May I ask how much time...? I hope that—

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Merrifield

I'll add to it. Go ahead.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Thank you very kindly. Can I ask the time, please, if I might, just to give me some idea?

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Merrifield

You have two minutes.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

All right. Then I will have to leave you, Mr. Solano, because I would like to ask this of Mr. Dade, if I could, please.

You talked interestingly about how, from your standpoint, the theory of trade assumes that there is “causality where there is none”. I think that was your direct quote. So I guess to me, the question is.... From that, I inferred that it may not make sense to review a human rights side agreement in relation to a trade agreement. But would you not believe that there is value in putting a human rights side agreement in place regardless? Because that certainly is one of the fundamentals that we have done with all of our trade agreements.

I would appreciate your candour on that, please.

1:05 p.m.

Senior Fellow, School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa

Carlo Dade

I think there are two separate issues here. If you want to include it as part of the agreement, you need to extend the methodology to include some sort of survey of firms to identify decisions and a survey of investors to identify decisions. And then, as the methodology lays out, you need to track those firms that have made the decision because of or tied to the free trade agreement—as to what aspects of the agreement and what provisions, etc., induced them and how that's affecting their behaviour—if you are then going to seek remedy for the damages by means of a tie to the trade agreement.

That's the point about causality. If you're going to use the agreement as a way to identify problems and effect remedies, you need to have causality there.

In terms of including it, I think it would make more sense to have separate agreements with countries. If human rights are such an overriding concern, they should not be relegated to a side agreement. If the concerns are so large and so pressing, I think they should be dealt with in a more transparent and more forthright manner. Take, for example, our case in the Americas. There are countries with which we have trade agreements in this hemisphere that have more charges against them in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights than does Colombia, yet those countries do not have separate side agreements on human rights, and human rights are not discussed.

So there are several issues with this. One is the basic hypocrisy of doing it with smaller, weaker countries, and not with larger countries, where there are quantifiably identified human rights issues. The methodology in terms of proving causality is another.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Thank you.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Merrifield

Thank you very much.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

I thank our guests.

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Merrifield

Mr. Easter, five minutes.

June 12th, 2012 / 1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I thank the witnesses for their comments.

Mr. Solano, you're representing the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters. In terms of the production of flowers in Colombia, how many companies would be involved in your organization—I mean the numbers—and are they locally owned and managed, or are they owned from afar?

1:10 p.m.

President, Association of Colombian Flower Exporters

Augusto Solano

We are the association, the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters. I am the president. I am not a flower grower; I am an administrator. We have approximately 250 farms that represent 70% of exports in the country. My organization is a private one. It's a non-profit organization.

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

In terms of the ownership—and this gets to the point of exploitation of land, and peasants, if I could put it that way—are the 250 farms locally owned and managed, or are they owned by multinational corporations or whatever?