IN THE HOUSE ~ Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act ~ Bill C-2

40th Parliament, 3rd Session
Context : Questions and Comments

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, given the dirty tricks that happened in the House last Friday, every single Liberal member of Parliament should be standing up this evening and voting against this agreement on that basis alone. The reason why the Conservatives are bringing in dirty tricks is because the public is clearly not on their side.

As the member well knows, in Toronto just a week and a half ago, there was another standing-room-only crowd coming forward. Many of his constituents and constituents from other Liberal-held ridings in Toronto were saying no to this agreement. The reality is that there is not a single independent human rights organization on the planet that agrees with the Liberal Party.

My question is very simple. I do not want any skating from the member, even though he has said in the past that he likes to skate. Given this amendment that is being put forward and given the fact that so many organizations are saying that they want to come forward to the trade committee and have their voice heard on the amendment and on the agreement themselves, will the member say publicly that the Liberal Party will support full and comprehensive hearings at the trade committee, even if it takes weeks or months, so that everybody's voice is heard?

Context : Questions and Comments
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, having two Business Excellence Awards under my belt, I certainly do not take any lessons from the hon. member at all about what is good for business and communities.

What all Conservatives are refusing to mention are the clear links between the Uribe regime and the murderous paramilitary thugs that kill human rights and labour activists. In fact, the Defense Intelligence Agency in the United States talked about Mr. Uribe essentially being a big fan of the Medellin cartel. He developed and prospered in the political system through his links with the Medillin cartel and he is a personal friend of Pablo Escobar.

I would like to ask the member, since the Conservatives always used to say they were tough on crime, why are they being soft on the crimes of the Colombian government?

Context : Questions and Comments
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, quite frankly, it is absolutely absurd to say that the figures are outdated. Every single independent human rights organization on the planet says that there is a risk of this actually galvanizing more human rights violations, as the member well knows. The reality is the current government has its hands soaked in blood. So much for the anti-crime agenda of the Conservatives. We have a president who rose to power with the support from the Medellin drug trafficking cartel, who is personal friends with Pablo Escobar, the notorious cocaine trafficker.

We have to ask, why are the Conservatives so soft on Colombian crime?

Context : Questions and Comments
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I can only lament the ignorance of the actual situation in Colombia. The hon. member has not read any of the human right reports.

An hon. member: None.

Mr. Peter Julian: None of them, not a single one, not Human Rights Watch, not Amnesty International, not the CCIC, not the CLC report, nothing, not a single report to actually understand why every single independent human rights organization on the planet that has commented on this agreement has talked about the risk of the human rights situation getting worse.

When we combine that with the lamentable ignorance of the Liberals of their own amendment, which does not compel anything more than the Colombian government to do what it already does, issue a report on itself every year, and every single year the Colombian government says it does a great job of protecting human rights, a great job of protecting labour rights. No matter how many bodies are in the streets, the Colombian government always whitewashes itself.

The real question here is why the Liberal Party has completely betrayed all of those who voted for the Liberal Party in the past, thinking that the Liberals were doing something on human rights and were concerned about human rights.

Context : Questions and Comments
M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Madame la Présidente, j'ai beaucoup aimé le discours du député. Il a une longue expérience. Il a compris tous les enjeux de cette entente de libre-échange. Toutes les organisations des droits humains, sans exception, ont dit non au fait d'aller de l'avant avec cette entente et, même le Comité permanent du commerce internationale — comme le député le sait très bien —, a dit qu'il y aurait une visite en Colombie. Quand les membres du comité ont vu ce qui se passait sur le terrain, ils ont dit que cela ne faisait pas de sens qu'on aille de l'avant avec cette entente sans avoir une évaluation indépendante et impartiale faite sur tous les impacts de cette entente.

Étant donné que toutes les organisations des droits humains sont contre, que les syndicats libres et indépendants sont contre, le député pourrait-il nous expliquer pourquoi il pense que les conservateurs et les libéraux sont tellement prêts de vendre aux enchères les valeurs fondamentales des gens du Canada qui trouvent, eux, que c'est important de mettre en place un système pour protéger les droits humains?

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Madam Speaker, I enjoyed the member's speech very much. He has a great deal of experience in the House and has understood what is at stake with this free trade agreement.

All human rights organizations,without exception, are opposed to this agreement. As the member knows very well, even the members of the Standing Committee on International Trade, when they saw what was happening on the ground, stated that it made no sense to go ahead with the agreement without an independent and impartial assessment of its impact.

All human rights organizations and free and independent trade unions are against this agreement. Can the member explain why the Conservatives and the Liberals are prepared to sacrifice the fundamental values of Canadians, who believe that a system must be put in place to protect human rights?