Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

June 10, 2009 14:32 ET

Citizens Protest Colombian President's Visit to Ottawa

CLC's Hassan Yussuff, "Say No to Colombia Free Trade Pact"

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 10, 2009) - The Canadian Labour Congress and affiliated unions joined people from human rights, church and community organizations on Parliament Hill on June 10th to protest against the Ottawa visit of Colombian president Alvaro Uribe and the free trade agreement that he is desperate to promote with Canada.

"Colombia has a brutal human rights record and the highest rate of murders of trade unionists in the world," said Hassan Yussuff, Canadian Labour Congress Secretary-Treasurer. "Uribe is here to whitewash his regime's atrocities and to convince Canadians to adopt a free trade agreement with him. We say not before we can be certain that this deal will not make a bad situation worse."

The Harper government signed a trade deal with Colombia in 2008. The legislation to implement it was withdrawn, at least temporarily, following an intense lobbying campaign by unions, human rights activists and community groups. Uribe arrived in Ottawa on Wednesday accompanied by his foreign and trade ministers. They were to hold closed door meetings with Prime Minister Harper and later with the Liberal caucus. Protesters held large puppets of Harper and Uribe and rolled out a blood red carpet to symbolize the welcome Uribe received. People dressed in black represented victims of violence in Colombia. A moment of silence was held for the 17 trade unionists murdered this year alone.

"We're protesting on the front steps of Parliament while Uribe sneaks into the back door," said Yussuff. "We wonder what Uribe and his Canadian government hosts have to hide."

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 130 district labour councils. Web site:

Contact Information

  • CLC
    Dennis Gruending
    CLC Communications
    613-526-7431 or 613-878-6040
    Sheila Katz
    CLC International Department
    613-526-7407 or 613-866-7432