'Why is Canada supporting murder, human rights violations and forced displacement in Colombia?'
Toronto (12 March 2010) - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) has joined other unions and social justice organizations across Canada in demanding the Harper government immediately stop the Canada - Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
The Harper Conservatives plan to move ahead with the agreement and to pursue free trade policies in general.
“How can we allow our government to collaborate with a regime that allowed 45 trade union leaders to be killed last year, 114 indigenous leaders murdered and thousands of people displaced?" asks OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "We demand that Ottawa listen to the voices of ordinary people here and in Colombia and stop this deal before it’s too late.”
OPSEU represents 130,000 unionized members across Ontario.
Colombia has one of the worst human rights records in the Western hemisphere. In 2008 the House of Commons standing committee on international trade issued a report calling for an independent human rights impact assessment before any deal was signed. Prime Minister Harper went ahead anyway and he also got support from Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and most of the Liberal caucus.
“It is time to kill this deal now because we all know it will not benefit any of us," Thomas says. "The only ones who will benefit are Canadian corporations and the economic elite whose profits will increase at the same time that murders and disappearances escalate."
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