IN THE HOUSE~ Question to the Parliamentary Secretary on the Canada-Colombia so-called free trade deal

40th Parliament, 1st Session

Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Speaker, the response of the parliamentary secretary is kind of laughable.

He was in Colombia with myself and other members of the standing committee. That standing committee voted very clearly not to proceed with an agreement with Colombia until there was a full, impartial and independent human rights assessment.

Parliamentarians disagree with the parliamentary secretary. We travelled throughout Bogotá with armed guards; at one point what was almost a regiment of the Colombian military. So much for his pretension that things have improved in Colombia.

The number of trade unionists and organized workers killed actually increased in 2008, and they simply wanted a better wage for themselves and their families.

Can the parliamentary secretary confirm that the cap on the only clause of the agreement that has any weight at all is capped at $15 million? In other words, the Colombian government can kill as many people as it wants and have a volume discount for that $15 million fine that it will pay to itself?