MASSE DEBATES THE PROPOSED CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE DEAL
September 15th, 2009 - 4:00am
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to ask my colleague a question. I want to make sure that we start this correctly. Could he outline some of the sidebar agreements that this deal has that are very unusual and also create some concern? The environment and labour practices in particular have been dominant in this agreement. Put on the side, they will allow for greater exploitation.
Why would the Government of Canada go into a privileged trading relationship? It is very important that we define that. We currently have trade with Colombia and we will continue to have trade with Colombia, but by agreeing to this type of a deal in the way that it is struck right now, we will be moving to a privileged trading relationship with a government that has had labour and civil society problems that have not been rectified.
Why the government would continue down that road with sidebar agreements is very disturbing and I would like the member to describe some of those elements.
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Mauricio Vasquez was a teacher union activist in Colombia who was killed. It is very disturbing that it is not just the hard industry union activists that are being killed in Colombia, it is civil society, like teachers. I would like to ask my colleague if that deepens her concerns when civil society, like nurses and teachers who organize for public services, are assassinated in Colombia.
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I was a little surprised by the description of the auto industry by the member for Oakville. We need to clarify here something very important. The auto pact that Canada signed with the United States was actually destroyed by our free trade agreement with the United States. Canada has slipped from fourth in world assembly to tenth. Subsequently we have lost further market share, so there is an important distinction to recognize here.
The member's reference about the jobs to Mexico used to be done in Canada. The member might want to talk to the member for Chatham-Kent—Essex about the Navistar international truck plant in his riding that is closing because the work has been moved to Texas by his own government which is actually procuring a truck deal for $200 million. It decided to allow that to be done in Texas instead of Chatham, sending those workers home. On top of that, some of that work as well has been moved to Mexico, so that it important.
What does the member believe is going to hold Colombia to account when we have had another 27 union activists killed there, civil society members including teachers, when we do not really have a case, after we sign this deal we will have no more stick to put pressure on the Colombian government for reform?