IN THE HOUSE ~ Member's Statement ~ Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and Bill C-23

40th Parliament, 2nd Session
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP):

“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.”