IN THE HOUSE ~ Question Period ~ Canada-Colombia trade deal

40th Parliament, 3rd Session ~ Question Period

M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, l'accord de libre-échange entre le Canada et la Colombie vise à donner un accès préférentiel aux compagnies afin d'exploiter les ressources naturelles colombiennes. Le problème est que ces ressources sont situées sur les territoires habités par les populations autochtones et afro-colombiennes.

Amnistie internationale a révélé récemment qu'il y a une nette augmentation de la violence constante à l'encontre de ces populations.
Est-ce que ce gouvernement et les libéraux vont se faire complice de la violence contre les populations autochtones et afro-colombiennes?

Mr. Gerald Keddy (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member's question and I follow this issue very closely. He forms his question deliberately to mislead. It kind of sounds like the Liberals opposite when they are chattering. It is the same type of thing. They deliberate mislead. They deliberately obstruct the facts.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

The Deputy Speaker: Order, order. The term “deliberately mislead” has been ruled unparliamentary by the Speaker. The member is out of time but might wish to retract his statement. I believe the member for Burnaby—New Westminster has a follow-up, so if you would do so quickly.

Mr. Gerald Keddy: Certainly, I would not want to mislead the House, Mr. Speaker, in any way, shape or form.
The reality on the minister's statement is that Canadian companies and Colombia follow the best corporate social responsibility practices.

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, he should apologize for his and his government's stand on Colombia. It is absolutely embarrassing.

Colombia is number one in the world for labour killings, number one in the world for violent theft of land and the government pretends that there is a democratic government in Colombia, but the international election monitoring report detailed fraud, coercion and fear of violence as the election period begins.

Instead of rewarding the regime in Colombia with a privileged trade deal, why will Conservatives and Liberals not push the regime to have free and fair elections there?

The U.S. Congress and the EU have stopped implementing free trade with Colombia. When will the government stop trying to play nice to this corrupt and bloody regime?

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade.

Mr. Gerald Keddy (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, CPC): Again, Mr. Speaker, the member comes back with the same question.

The reality is that we have a good trade agreement with Colombia. I think the majority of Parliament will be onside with that agreement. It will create jobs and opportunity for Canadian workers. It will help Colombians who have a democratically-elected government. It will help Colombian workers. It has side agreements on human rights and on the environment.

This is a very good free trade agreement not just for Canada but for Colombia.