Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act

An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Colombia, the Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Colombia and the Agreement on Labour Cooperation between Canada and the Republic of Colombia

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in December 2009.

Sponsor

Stockwell Day  Conservative

Status

Second reading (House), as of Nov. 17, 2009
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment implements the Free Trade Agreement and the related agreements on the environment and labour cooperation entered into between Canada and the Republic of Colombia and signed at Lima, Peru on November 21, 2008.

The general provisions of the enactment specify that no recourse may be taken on the basis of the provisions of Part 1 of the enactment or any order made under that Part, or the provisions of the Free Trade Agreement or the related agreements themselves, without the consent of the Attorney General of Canada.

Part 1 of the enactment approves the Free Trade Agreement and the related agreements and provides for the payment by Canada of its share of the expenditures associated with the operation of the institutional aspects of the Free Trade Agreement and the power of the Governor in Council to make orders for carrying out the provisions of the enactment.

Part 2 of the enactment amends existing laws in order to bring them into conformity with Canada’s obligations under the Free Trade Agreement and the related agreement on labour cooperation.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Oct. 7, 2009 Failed That the amendment be amended by adding after the word “matter” the following: “, including having heard vocal opposition to the accord from human rights organizations”.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 3:25 p.m.
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NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the member does not want to bring up any of the bad things about this bill. We can look past the 2,690 trade unionists who were actually murdered in that country. We can look past the poverty and the environmental damage. They do not matter.

We could create a few jobs, but the unfortunate thing with this bill is that it does not do anything for fair trade, and that is what the New Democrats are talking about: fair trade, not free trade.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 3:30 p.m.
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NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that there are two side agreements in this trade agreement, one being environmental and the other dealing with human rights. I am wondering why these two agreements are side agreements and not in the main text of the agreement, which would give them more power to be enforced and more moral power.

I was just wondering if the hon. member for Sudbury would be interested in maybe commenting on why he thinks these are side agreements as opposed to being put into the body of the text.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 3:30 p.m.
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NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, I could only imagine the reasons the Conservative government would not want to put the environment and human rights into the main portion of this free trade agreement.

As I mentioned earlier, what we are advocating is fair trade, fair trade with countries that we can actually deal with, and that we ensure that we have fair environmental practices and fair human rights. Right now this bill does not present any of that in the way it is presented.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 3:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise here this afternoon to resume debate on the motion put forward by my colleague, the hon. member for Sherbrooke, to amend Bill C-23, Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act.

I would like to begin by thanking the hon. member for Sherbrooke and congratulating him on his fine work. Throughout this debate he has been able to point to those parts of the agreement where important questions remain regarding its fairness, of course, but also regarding the real motivation behind the implementation of this proposed new free trade agreement between Canada and Colombia.

However, as I was saying, this debate is not about the bill itself, but rather the amendment put forward by my hon. colleague from Sherbrooke. Regarding this amendment, I wonder why the government would disagree with it, since the amendment does not change the substance of the bill, but the nature of the debate proceedings.

At this point in my speech, I would like to read the amendment. Then, I will explain whey the government could very well support it. The amendment says:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:

“the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-23, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Colombia, the Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Colombia and the Agreement on Labour Cooperation between Canada and the Republic of Colombia, because the government concluded this agreement while the Standing Committee on International Trade was considering the matter, thereby demonstrating its disrespect for democratic institutions.”

Members will recall that, in the summer of 2008, the Prime Minister declared that an election was necessary because Parliament had become dysfunctional, committees were no longer able to conduct their business properly and that there was a lack of respect for the institutions of Parliament.

I am wondering, given that the Prime Minister himself seems so interested in the democratic nature of standing committees, why his government decided to introduce a bill to have this House study the matter while a parliamentary committee was examining it.

We know very well how our parliamentary committees work and how the agendas for these committees are established. Usually, the agenda is set by the members of the steering committee, which includes members of the opposition as well as government members.

How is it that government members decided to put a future Canada-Colombia free trade agreement on the agenda of the standing committee knowing very well that, in the back of its mind, the government intended to ignore the committee's work and to introduce in the House a bill to examine this very issue?

When these members informed the other committee members that they would support the study of this issue, did they realize the importance of the committee's work and the fact that this committee's findings could enlighten the government on a future bill?

It seems that would be obvious and that there is a process set up. When this issue was before the committee, the government members could very well have explained to government officials how the committee would be examining this issue. Now, it appears as though they were talking out of both sides of their mouths, since the committee had decided to examine this issue and to make some recommendations to the government.

As I said earlier, if the Prime Minister really had respect for the way committees work, he himself would have allowed the committee to do its work and reach its own conclusions so as to give the government a new perspective before it drafted its bill.

For these reasons, I think my colleague from Sherbrooke was absolutely right to introduce this amendment, which states that we should set aside this bill, and that we should decline to give second reading, so that the committee can continue its work. In fact, the committee is working as we speak.

I want to thank my colleague from Sherbrooke for inviting me to join him during some of the committee sessions so that I could hear for myself what some of the representatives and witnesses had to say. By the way, those witnesses had been invited by the government, when my colleague invited me to join him. The witness I am referring to seemed, in the case of the free trade agreement between Canada and the United States, to assure us that that free trade agreement would also be beneficial to Colombia.

It should come as no surprise that we have some reservations about this issue since we do not have many figures on trade between Canada and Colombia. We can all agree that current trade between Canada and Colombia is quite limited. In our opinion, the government is thinking about establishing a new trade regime between Canada and Colombia not because it has trade in mind, but because of certain interests, which could hinder efforts by the Colombian government and Colombian civil society to adopt better practices with respect to the environment and the rights of workers.

In closing, I would like to remind hon. members that the other point this witness wanted to make addressed the competitiveness we should maintain with respect to the United States. However, when it comes to international trade, Quebec and Canada have a very different attitude from the United States. Competitiveness must not be the only consideration in establishing a free trade agreement between Canada and another country.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 3:40 p.m.
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Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will take this opportunity to congratulate my colleague from Verchères—Les Patriotes, who has worked so hard on this file.

It is understandable because this is an important cause. At the moment people are changing their minds about agreements. On the weekend I was with a delegation from Mexico which is questioning certain parts of the agreement. This is surprising because the parts at issue in NAFTA are the ones defended by the bill introduced by the present Conservative government.

I would like to ask my colleague from Verchères—Les Patriotes whether he believes that this ploy in committee to hasten the passage of this bill does not stem from the fact that certain groups are pressuring the Conservative government to protect certain interests. They are attempting an ideological ploy to speed up the passage of this bill.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 3:40 p.m.
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Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Brome—Missisquoi for his question.

What he is in fact advancing is the following question. Is the government vulnerable to lobby groups that might urge it to cut corners, to rush the work and speed up the process, even if it means an imperfect agreement, an agreement that could have adverse effects in future?

This is a very important question, because what is expected of a responsible government, a government that does its job thoroughly, is that it pay no heed to all of these lobbies demanding that the process be accelerated, and that it take into consideration all interests and the informative perspective of a parliamentary committee, such as the Standing Committee on International Trade. That committee too may, in the exercise of its duties, invite experts from all over who have different and diverging points of view. What moves the debate ahead is having opinions that are sometimes contradictory. However, my colleague makes a good point. The government should not rush into anything to benefit special interests.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 3:40 p.m.
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NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the member to expand a little on the issue of the committee's work being ignored.

I was here when the Conservatives were in opposition and said that the government needed to listen to the majority of Parliament as that was a priority for any government, particularly in a minority situation. Here the Conservatives are acting in exactly the opposite way.

I thought the member made a good point. I wonder if he could expand on what it says about the government when it wants to have it both ways. When the Conservatives were in opposition in a minority government they felt that the majority ruled, but now that they are in power in a minority government, they think it does not really matter what the majority thinks and that it only matters what the Conservatives think.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 3:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

The example he gave is entirely to the point. One could mention many others, for example the government’s decision to reduce the funding needed by the Parliamentary Budget Officer to do his work. There is also the government’s refusal to say whether it will act on the Supreme Court’s directive regarding the repatriation of Omar Khadr, that is, whether or not it will respect the court’s decision. One might also think of what happened in the last Parliament. For example, there was a vote on the implementation of the Kyoto protocol and the majority of members of this House voted in favour, but the government had decided, on the pretext that it was the government, not to heed the majority voice of this House.

These are all examples that tend to prove that the government is in agreement with democratic institutions when it is in its interest to be in agreement, and does as it pleases when it is not in its interest.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 3:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the debate on the bill to implement the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement.

I have criticized this agreement, and the fact that I am going to continue to do so will not come as a surprise to anyone. Just because it is a free trade agreement does not mean it is the be all and the end all. The Conservative Party and the Liberal Party have a tendency to say that an economic agreement takes precedence over everything else, and that it is very important to ratify such a treaty. However, the case before us is a completely different matter. People who are watching this debate must realize that the free trade agreement between Canada and Colombia presents some serious risks, and I will mention a few.

There is the possibility that investors may sue the Colombian government if they feel that their performance in that country is affected by various measures implemented by the government. That is very dangerous, because this would impede social development in a country like Colombia. Any investor—whether he is Canadian, British or American—who has interests in Colombia, could blame the government for putting forward measures to protect workers or young working children, among other things. This could be dangerous, because investors could claim that such measures are affecting their performance and they could sue the Colombian government to oppose such legislation.

Colombia is already a poor country led by a “narco-government” that is controlled by drug cartels. There is a tremendous risk that initiatives designed to improve people's working conditions will be adversely affected by this bill.

In order to follow a democratic process, Canada first signed a free trade agreement with the United States, and then another one with Mexico and the United States. These countries are democracies that have safeguards to prevent such agreements from impeding progress in terms of people's quality of life.

The free trade agreements signed by Canada with the United States and Mexico include provisions to that effect, but in this case, there are fewer of them. The government said it was important to address the issue and sign a free trade agreement with Colombia, adding that it would enter side agreements on working conditions and the environment.

However, we know what side agreements imply. Once the official agreement has been ratified, they will find excuses to delay the negotiation of those side agreements. They will impose very small fines that will do nothing to prevent abuse of workers or of children, but that will hurt the social initiatives designed to improve people's quality of life.

This is a great danger which is not posed by other free trade agreements. Free trade agreements are often entered into with countries with a comparable economy and a legitimate democracy. This is absolutely not the case with Colombia.

Speaking of democracy, 30 members of the Colombian parliament are under arrest, and some 60 are under investigation. There is complicity with drug traffickers, who gain a foothold with the government by buying MPs and senators. Some will say that this happens in Canada and everywhere else. I will concede that, in part, except that down there this seems to be the preferred method of operating.

God knows the drug traffickers have an immense amount of money to make available to those who agree to work in a negative fashion as elected officials. It is easy for those people to agree to certain things. The evidence is that some of them are now under arrest and others under investigation. What is more, there is their possible complicity with the paramilitary groups that are to some extent the law in Colombia. This is a very unstable country in terms of working conditions, living conditions and the status of democracy.

Will this agreement enable this country to evolve? If Colombia signs an agreement with Canada, will it conform to international standards? Given the current state of affairs, we doubt it.

I leave aside the fact that the standing committee did excellent work in trying to get to the bottom of things, and that the government totally ignored it in an attempt to impose its will on the Parliament of Canada. I concur with my colleagues who say that the government is moving too fast. It makes no sense. This needs serious reflection. Problems are not going to be resolved just by signing a free trade agreement. On the contrary, what the Canadian government is doing at the moment may aggravate those problems.

I can give some examples of democratic problems. Unionists are disappearing down there. They are being killed and executed. The union should be regarded as anti-establishment. When the authority in the Colombian parliament is corrupt, people in civil society rise up, and the unionists are often the first to do so. I could talk about this at length, being a former unionist myself. For me, the union has always been anti-establishment. It is important to have the unions’ viewpoint in a free and democratic society. But when they are condemned to silence, when an attempt is made to keep them quiet, when no effort is made to improve the working conditions of Colombian workers and the government interferes, major problems arise. This is what we are trying to denounce as responsible members of Parliament here.

The same applies for the people’s quality of life. In Colombia children are permitted to work. We do not permit this in Canada. Or we permit it, but under certain conditions. The children must not be too young. If the Colombian government decided to put a stop to children working in companies, the companies might threaten the government with prosecution because their investments and their performance would be jeopardized. As I was saying, these are not incentives to social progress.

We are seeing population displacements in Colombia. We are seeing big agricultural consortiums tell small farmers to get out, whereupon they take their land, often with the help of the paramilitary who have an almost direct relationship with the government. The government knows what is going on. It lets it go on. It sees to it that the big consortiums are able to control the situation, and they are pushing more and more people out.

It is the same thing with the mining companies. They may decide to expropriate people to get big expanses of farmland in different provinces of Colombia, because they consider it important to do this on the pretext that they are investors and they are going to attract Canadian, British or American investment to Colombia.

In this way entire populations are displaced.

We are not against this agreement because we have to be against it or we like being against it. Moreover, I would remind hon. members that free trade has always been a very important issue in Quebec and that Quebec succeeded in winning acceptance for the free trade agreement between Canada and the United States when the rest of Canada had misgivings about it. When we object to something, it is because we have good reasons to do so.

I invite my colleagues to vote against this agreement, because it will not help Colombia any more than it will help Canada, which is supposed to be a defender of human rights.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 3:55 p.m.
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NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, last year, in 2008, the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade recommended that no agreement be signed with Colombia until the human rights situation there was improved and also that a human rights impact assessment be undertaken to determine the real impact of the trade agreement.

At that time, the Liberals and the Liberal critic on the committee appeared to be supportive of that idea. Now over the course of the year, evidently, the Liberal position has changed and the new critic, the member for Kings—Hants, after a four day trip to Colombia made the following statement on September 30 regarding Colombia. He said:

To say that paramilitary forces are murdering union leaders today is false, because everybody who has been studying the issue recognizes that the paramilitary forces have been disbanded--

Of course, that is totally contradicted by a report from Amnesty International which found that paramilitary groups remained active despite claims by the government that all paramilitaries had been demobilized in a government-sponsored process that began in 2003. Paramilitaries continued to kill civilians and to commit other human rights violations, sometimes with the support or acquiescence of the security forces.

The question is, how did the member for Kings—Hants get this so wrong and has the member apologized to the organizations that have approached him for an apology on this issue?

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 3:55 p.m.
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Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

We are talking about a time when the Liberal Party hoped to come to power. This is not the only example of major shifts by the Liberal Party. I remember hearing the Liberals and their national defence critic say for a year that the mission in Afghanistan would not be extended because what was happening there was terrible, we had done our part and we were going to leave the country.

A year later, when the polls were good, that party flip-flopped, got into bed with the Conservatives and decided to extend the mission until 2011. This is not the first time the Liberals have done this. In my opinion, the Liberals are guilty. Instead of taking a consistent stand, they will say one thing for a while. Then, when they feel that power is within their reach, they change their tune because they can picture themselves in power. They want power.

The Conservatives have also done this. When they were on this side of the House, the Conservatives criticized the government. But today, they are the first ones to do the very things they used to condemn. The Liberals and the Conservatives are just the same. They are two of a kind.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 4 p.m.
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Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the hon. member for Saint-Jean for his interesting speech.

I would like to ask him a question since he is the Bloc Québécois national defence critic. I know he is an expert on the subject. When I was listening to his comments, I saw many similarities with Afghanistan. There is institutionalized corruption, problems, the democratic deficit, drugs, poppies, which are a major problem. I now see parallels with Colombia.

How can we conduct trade with people who have problems similar to those we are trying to overcome in Afghanistan? Does he not see a parallel between these two situations?

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 4 p.m.
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Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague from Trois-Rivières.

She is quite right in what she says. I would say, when talking about drugs, that the similarities are quite stupefying, Yes, there is corruption in Colombia. Yes, it is a narco-state. Yes, the drug cartel is in control. We will not be helping the people of Colombia and international rights by signing an agreement with those people.

Usually, membership in important forums, such as NATO, the UN or the European Union, is contingent upon conduct that is close to that of a democracy. By intentionally ignoring this, we are not contributing to the advancement of the Colombian population or international law. So yes, there are similarities.

At present, we are having a great deal of trouble in Afghanistan, which can be easily traced to the opium trade. The same goes for Colombia. We should not agree to sign an agreement with Colombia until positive changes occur.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to join the debate and to put my feelings on the record.

At the outset, all the bad things that have been said are bad, but it is disheartening to think about Canada going down this road. I hearken back to my time in the Ontario Legislature, where I watched the Mike Harris government, over the course of eight years, destroy so much of what made me so proud to be a Hamiltonian, and particularly the things that were built over decades and generations before. It will take another decade or so to catch up to where we were in many of those areas.

I raise that because not only is the agenda similar, but the players are similar. The chief of staff to the Prime Minister is the former chief of staff to Mike Harris. The finance minister is the same finance minister I watched in the Ontario Legislature. It is the same with the transport minister and a couple of other players on that side of the House. As disheartening as that was to watch as a member of the provincial legislature, cherished programs and important legacies destroyed, I now see the same thing at the national level. Much of what makes us proud to be Canadians is on the line in terms of the government's action, and in particular, this bill.

Why is there so much opposition? The previous speaker said that he was not standing to oppose for the sake of opposing. Certainly, we are not. We are the party that is keeping Parliament alive. We are standing opposed to this because it is wrong. It is wrong for Colombians, but it is wrong for Canadians. It is wrong for Canadians to enter into an agreement that gives the impression that everything is okay in Colombia, that it is just business as usual. Well, it is not.

Just today there was a news conference reported in the Latin American Herald Tribune. It says in part:

Representatives of the Colombian Coalition against Torture held a press conference in Geneva to discuss the report the group is presenting this week before a U.N. rights panel here.

Torture continues to be generalized and systemic in Colombia. It is perpetrated by the Public Force, by the paramilitaries and by the guerillas, but the party principally responsible for these acts is the state”, said Isabelle Heyer, a member of the Colombian Jurist Commission....

She said sexual violence againstwomen and girls is one of the most pervasive modes of torture, calling it “an habitual, systemic and invisible practice, which enjoys impunity in the majority of cases and whose principal perpetrators are soldiers and police”.

Is it not the same government that uses girls going to school in Afghanistan as their one reason for continuing with the mission in the format that it is? Yet we see what is going on with women and girls in Colombia, but somehow that does not count.

We have seen a lot of Canadian trade unionists getting involved in this issue. Do members think they have nothing else to concern themselves with? They stand for more than just collective bargaining and taking care of their members. They know when they build a stronger Canada, they are taking care of their members.

I was meeting earlier in my office on the Hill with some ACTRA representatives, as many members are. They are lobbying on some very important issues regarding Canadian culture and the importance of maintaining and reflecting that culture and ensuring there is regulations that it happens in our airwaves. It is an important matter. I happened to mention in passing that I would be getting up later to speak to the Colombian free trade agreement in the House, and members should have seen their reaction. They knew about it. They knew what was happening. That was not why they were there to see me. They were horrified by the prospect of Canada entering into such an agreement.

We met on the Hill with Colombian citizens, Colombian trade union leaders whose family members, friends and colleagues have been murdered. It is a narco-state. What the heck are we doing? Whose bidding are we taking care of by doing this? I have heard some nonsense from the official opposition that it is all about human rights. Give me a break.

Norway was all set to enter into a free trade agreement. It has pulled back. Why? It wants to see some improvement in human rights. Norway has taken our place as the leading nation in the world being seen as fair-minded, fighting for human rights, building a society that helps all its people. That is where we were. That is what Norway has done.

Britain was providing some military assistance. My understanding is it has pulled back on that also. Why? It cannot bear the thought that the actions it would take would lend credibility to what goes on in Colombia.

The United States of America, under George Bush, was gung-ho for this agreement. It had a slight change there. That slight change has brought this to a screeching halt. In fact, the chairman of the House trade working group and representative Phil Hare have attached themselves to the following quote:

If we had been born in Colombia, we would probably be dead. That's right. As members of our respective labour unions, the fight for higher wages, better working conditions, and a secure pension could have cost us our lives.

I am a trade unionist. My brother is a trade unionist. That applies to all of us.

Colombian Senator Robledo stated:

You can be sure of the fact that should this free trade agreement be ratified, Canada will become extremely unpopular and disliked by the people of Colombia.

Let us get a sense of this. The people who are known to be on the forefront of fighting for human rights in Canada and around the world, the trade union movement in Canada, are opposed to this. Trade union leaders, human rights activists and citizens and elected senators in Colombia do not want this to happen. The U.K. has pulled back from supporting Colombia. Norway has pulled back from its free trade agreement with Colombia because of human rights violations. The United States has stopped, at least for now. We do not know what the future holds, but for now it cannot get past the Democrats in Congress because of human rights violations.

Therefore, why are we doing this? It is hard not to think that, given the fact that the labour and environmental protections, and I use the word “protection” loosely, are in these side agreements. We know from our own experience in NAFTA that a side agreement does not have the same impact as being in the main agreement. That would be why we put it in a side agreement.

Again, I come back to this question. Who wants this? Who benefits? It would seem that there are a lot of multinational corporations, many of them Canadian-based. We lead in resource extraction. Over the next few decades, they stand to make an awful lot of money if they can get into Colombia and start getting at those resources, at best looking past the human rights violations, looking past the fact that narcotics is the key component of its economy. That is at best.

It would seem that the Conservatives are prepared to do their bidding. I do not see a whole lot of Canadians filling these chambers, demanding that the government proceed with this and that we stop opposing it. It is quite the contrary. A lot of Hamiltonians have told me how proud they are that we have stood up, delayed and done everything we can to stop this bill from being law, to stop this free trade agreement from taking effect.

It is wrong for the Colombians. It is wrong for Canadians. It is wrong for the government to continue pushing this through. We on this side of the House, representing the majority of Canadians, will continue to do everything we can to kill it completely.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 17th, 2009 / 4:10 p.m.
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NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking my colleague, the member for Hamilton Centre, for his very passionate remarks about a serious issue.

I can only imagine how much it pains him, having sat through the Mike Harris government and seeing that province dismantled bit by bit, to be now here in the House of Commons and to see the same bunch do the same thing to our country and the values that Canadians hold near and dear.

However, I am curious to know how he feels about another party in the House, the Liberals, who have acted in complicity with the Conservatives on this very serious issue, and whether he can justify the party of Laurier, the party of Pearson, the party of Trudeau now standing in the House today and saying that there is no such thing as torture in Colombia, that trade unionists are not being murdered, that human rights are not being abrogated, that women and girls are not being raped.

Could he square this circle in terms of Liberals who suggest, as the member for Kings—Hants has, that paramilitary forces murdering union leaders is in fact a falsehood? Could he help us to understand where the Liberals are at and why in the world they would be supporting the Conservatives with such a right-wing ideology?