IN THE HOUSE ~ Report Stage ~ C-2 Canada-Colombia free trade deal

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

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, there was so little comment done in the minister's speech. The minister is a failed minister with a failed trade strategy.

The reality is, it is not just the softwood lumber sellout that killed tens of thousands of jobs right across the country, it is not things like the buy America sellout that is being condemned as the second worst agreement ever signed by Canada, it is not just the shipbuilding sellout, it is not just the consistent, wrong-headed policies of this government, when we have signed bilateral trade agreements, our exports to those markets have gone down in real terms.

The minister has tried to hide behind that by using inflation-related dollars, but the reality is in real terms, our exports go down to those markets after we have signed trade agreements in every single case except one.

The minister simply cannot defend the record of this government, and he certainly cannot defend what the Conservatives and Liberals have done on this agreement. They refuse to hear from the Canadian Labour Congress, refuse to hear from some of the largest unions in the country and refuse to hear from the Colombian free and democratic labour movement. The only labour movement that they would hear from is the government affiliated labour unions. They refuse to hear from African Colombians and refuse to hear from aboriginal Colombians. Now we find out that this secret report the government has been hiding for the last six months refers to the murders that are directly government-related to those communities and also lesbian and gay Colombians.

We have a systematic obstruction, a refusal to get any sort of real input for people affected by this agreement, and now we have closure. What a shame. Shame on these Conservatives. Shame on them all.

Context : Questions and Comments
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, first, as far as the Conservatives are concerned on agricultural policy, after the vicious attacks on the Canadian Wheat Board, after the fact that Alberta has the lowest farm receipts in the entire country, and after putting supply management on the table in the Canada-E.U. negotiations, this party takes no lessons from the Conservatives on agricultural policy.

I would like to go back to the member now. The Conservatives' record is very clear. Alberta has the lowest farm receipts in the country. So, farmers are not being well-served by the current government.

I like the hon. member. I find her a little disingenuous, to say the least, on this particular issue. I know that she is not a member of the trade committee and has not been to Colombia. However, the reality is the Liberal Party systematically obstructed, refused to hear from the Canadian Labour Congress, refused to hear from the National Union of Provincial Government Employees, refused to hear from the Public Service Alliance of Canada, refused to hear from the free and democratic labour unions in Colombia--over 90% of Colombians who are workers and unionized are in that sector--refused to hear from African-Colombians, refused to hear from aboriginal people in Colombia, shut off all debate before the committee.

Now, two years ago, when we went down to Colombia, the trade committee came back with unanimous recommendation to not proceed with this agreement. That is the one time when the trade committee did its job.

It did not do its job on Bill C-2 because of Liberal interference and Liberals refusing to hear from the groups that actively requested to come before the committee.

For the Liberals to say they are for human rights when they have accepted, in fact, promoted, closure and cut off all of those important witnesses who wanted to come before the trade committee is disingenuous, at best.

I know that many activists have expressed this to Liberal members, that the Liberal leader has simply said to all of the members within the Liberal Party caucus who have misgivings about this tragic turn of events with no human rights override at all in the Colombia trade deal, the only thing the Colombian government is obliged to do is produce a whitewashed report on itself once a year.

My question for the member is very simple. Will her leader allow a free vote on Colombia? Will her leader actually say that those many Liberal MPs who have expressed misgivings about this Liberal sellout on human rights will have the opportunity to vote on this agreement without being bludgeoned through a whipped vote here in the House?