Join the online letter campaign now. Thousands of e-mails and phone calls are having an impact. Liberal MPs are the key. Let's keep up the pressure.
Ottawa (26 May 2009) - Legislation to implement the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) – Bill C-23 – may yet be stopped in the House of Commons.
The opposition Liberals, whose support is critical in a minority parliament, indicated when the bill was debated at second reading on May 25 that they may be reconsidering their earlier decision to support this misguided Conservative proposal.
It appears that thousands of e-mails and calls – from citizens across Canada urging them to vote against the CCFTA – are beginning to have an impact.
Peter Julian, the New Democratic Party critic for international trade, opened second reading debate with an urgent appeal to fellow MPs to show respect for human rights.
"It is extremely irresponsible for Canada to sign a trade deal with a country that has the worst human rights situation in the Western Hemisphere and that is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a trade unionist," Julian argued.
"The Conservatives and Liberals need to make the respect of fundamental human rights a precondition of any trade deal."
Later, when pressed by Julian, Liberal's international trade critic Scott Brison called on the Harper government to conduct a formal Independent Human Rights Impact Assessment before allowing the legislation to proceed.
This represents an important shift away from the position previously taken by Brison on behalf of his party. His stance is now in keeping with a motion passed earlier by the Commons international trade committee.
It is time to keep up the pressure.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), which has played a major role in mobilizing public opinion against the agreement, is urging all Canadians to continue lobbying all MPs on the issue – especially those in the Liberal party whose support is crucial to stop C-23 from becoming law,
An online e-mail form is available at the link below. Please use it to send a letter to Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and to forward copies to key Liberal MPs.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE