I just received a letter from Canadian Member of Parliament, Peter Julian, the NDP's International Trade Critic. The party is urging Canadians to help them defeat a bill that would set up free trade deals with Columbia, a nation currently engaged in a war on human rights, and with its own people. Mr Julian made a statement in the house today which condemned the "Bush-style free trade agreement" with the regime;
"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."
In a letter addressed to Canadians, Mr Julian appealed 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 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."
Canadians are reminded of their proud stance in regards to the respect of both human and labor rights everywhere, and that those values should not be trumped by deals that only serve to ease corporate profitability.
Mr. Harper will continue to sell Canada's soul, with the help Mr. Ignatieff, unless the people take action.
The NDP urges everyone to help them increase pressure on the Harper government and the Liberal Party puppets, by making your voice heard.
You can write to the Liberal Party leader at IgnatM@parl.gc.ca, and ask them to reconsider their backing of criminal Harpers deal with the devil.