Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

January 17, 2008 12:33 ET

Canadian Labour Congress: "No Trade Agreement With Colombia Acceptable at this Time," US Legislators Say

Canadian labour calls on Canadian government to step away from deal with Colombia

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 17, 2008) - The Canadian Labour Congress salutes a group of US legislators who wrote a letter to their counterparts in Ottawa to tell them that "no trade agreement with Colombia is acceptable at this time."

"It is truly remarkable that Canadian and American working families and the US Congress share the sense of outrage about entering into a trade deal with Colombia at this time," says Ken Georgetti, president, Canadian Labour Congress. "Our government should step away from a deal with a government that allows murders of trade unionists to go unpunished."

Signed by seven members of the House of Representatives, - Michael H. Michaud (Maine), Betty Sutton (Ohio), Phil Hare (Illinois), Linda Sanchez (California), Nancy Boyda (Kansas), Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) and Keith Ellison(Minnesota) - the letter from the Congress of the United States starts with a reminder that any future trade deals the US or Canada strike with any other country would "no doubt have an impact on both our respective economies and our unique bilateral relationship." The letter goes on to explain why the US Congress will not support a similar deal between their country and Colombia:

"First, we are disturbed by the human rights situation in the country, and the fact that many of these horrific crimes are committed with impunity. Second, we simply do not believe that the trade agreement will foster the broad-based economic development needed in Colombia or that it will generate substantial economic opportunities at home."

The letter explains in some detail that Colombia's labour activists are often murdered; that the government of President Alvaro Uribe faces heavy corruption issues; that there is no credibility to official statements about demobilization of paramilitary squads; that international human rights organizations are still filing reports about unlawful executions across Colombia; and, that many Colombians themselves do not want these trade deals.

The complete text of the letter is available on the Canadian Labour Congress' web site at canadianlabour.ca.

"Canadian labour representatives visiting Colombia have gathered the same information and we have shared it with the Canadian government," says Georgetti. "Now it's time for our Members of Parliament to look into this. When they do, they will refuse to ratify such a trade deal."

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 136 district labour councils. Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca

Contact Information

  • OTTAWA:
    Jean Wolff
    613-526-7431
    and 613-878-6040
    or
    Jeff Atkinson
    613-526-7425
    and 613-863-1413
    or
    WASHINGTON, D.C.:
    Ed Gilman
    Press Secretary to Congressman
    Michael H. Michaud
    202-225-6306