Friday, September 11, 2009

Free trade with murderers? Say NO!

Librocons: one party, two wings.

The Harper government, with the help of former human rights advocate Michael Ignatieff, is set for quick passage of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA). It's expected to be the very first order of business, when Parliament reconvenes on Monday.

I've blogged about the appalling human rights record of the Alvaro Uribe regime before--in fact, the issue came up right outside the Liberal Convention earlier this year. To repeat a bit:

Speaker after speaker noted the rising number of killings at the hands of Colombia's roving paramilitaries and regular forces: trade unionists, aboriginal leaders and human rights advocates are fair game for this regime. Of all the trade unionists killed around the world, 70% of them are Colombian. The government of Alvaro Uribe deigns to investigate about 3% of them, as a public relations gesture.

Uribe has extradited some of the most notorious Colombian paramilitary leaders to the US, but there is more to this than meets the eye. Ensuing trials will conceal much more than they are likely to reveal, including the close links between the Colombian government and its extra-judicial death squads.

More than four million of the poorest Colombians have been displaced, their land stolen out from under them by government forces, to make way for lucrative tourist resorts. Some of the tactics used to eliminate inconvenient civilians have been inventive, such as the "false positives" initiative, in which victims of the Colombian armed forces are dressed up in guerilla uniforms after they are murdered. Indigenous peoples find themselves between a rock and a hard place, targeted by FARC (the guerillas in the country) and government forces alike.

Opposition MPs from the NDP, Bloc Québécois and social movement forces in Canada and Colombia played their parts in preventing a second reading of the bill in May, but that merely caused a delay. It's back, and will swiftly pass if Liberals offer their support.

On the distant chance that some Liberals actually possess consciences, I am passing along a request from the Colombia Solidarity Action Alliance:

We urge you to contact/email Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae and key Liberal MPs of the Standing Committee on International Trade-CIIT. If you cannot contact them directly, speak to their assistants and directly express your concerns:

Urge them:

1. Not to ratify the implementation of a free trade agreement with the
the Alvaro Uribe government which has the worst human rights record in the hemisphere, the second largest number of internally displaced after Sudan and the highest number of unionists murdered.

2. To respect the recommendation of Parliament's Standing Committee on International Trade which clearly outlines that the CCFTA bill should not be implemented prior to an independent, third party human rights assessment.

1- Michael Ignatieff, Etobicoke-Lakeshore, ON
Tel: 416. 251.5510; 613.995.9364
Fax: 613.992.5880

2- Bob Rae, Toronto Centre, ON
Tel: 416.954.2222;613.992.5234
Fax: 613.996.9607

3- Maria Minna, Beaches-East York, ON
Tel: 416.467.0860; 613.992.2115
Fax: 613.996.7942

Liberal MPs on CIIT:

Vice-Chair: John Cannis, Scarborough Centre, ON
Tel: 416.752.2358;
Fax: 416.752.4624; 613.943.1045

1- Scott Brison, Kings-Hants, NS
Tel: 902.542.4010;
Fax: 902.542.4184; 613.996.9349

2- Mario Silva, Davenport, ON
Tel: 416.654.8048;
Fax: 416.654.5083; 613.995.8202

12 Lib.MPs that won in 2008 with under a 5% margin:

1- Ujjal Dosanjh, Vancouver South, BC
Tel: 604.775.5323;
Fax: 604.775.5420; 613.995.2962

2- Keith Martin, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, BC
Tel: 250.474.6505; 613.996.2625.
Fax: 250.474.5322; 613.996.9779.

3- Alexandra Mendes, Brossard-La Prairie, QC
Tel: 450.466.6872;
Fax: 450.466.9822; 613.992.7273

4- Andrew Kania, Brampton West, ON
Tel: 905.846.0076;
Fax: 905.846.3901;613.995.6796

5- Ruby Dhalla, Brampton - Springdale, ON
Tel: 905.874.6868
; 613.995.4843
Fax: 905.874.1415; 613.995.7003

6- Siobhan Coady, St. John's South - Mount Pearl, NL
Tel: 709.772.4608;
Fax: 709.772.4776; 613.995.7858

7- Justin Trudeau, Papineau, QC
Tel: 514.277.6020
; 613.995.8872
Fax: 514.277.3454;613.995.9926

8- Frank Valeriote, Quelph, ON
Tel: 519.837.8276;
Fax: 519.837.8443; 613.996.9922

9- Brian Murphy, Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, NB
Tel: 506.851.3310
; 613.992.8072
Fax: 506.851.3273; 613.992.8083

10- Paul Szabo, Mississauga South, ON
Tel: 905.822.2111
; 613.992.4848
Fax: 905.822.2115; 613.996.3267

11- Joe Volpe, Eglinton-Lawrence, ON
Tel: 416.781.5583
; 613.992.6361
416.781.5586; 613.992.9791

12- Wayne Easter, Malpeque, PE
Tel: 902.964.2428
; 613.992.2406
Fax: 902.964.3242; 613.995.7408

Have a productive weekend!

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