TORONTO, March 10 /CNW/ - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union joins unions and social justice organizations across Canada today by demanding the Harper government immediately stop the Canada -Colombia Free Trade deal.
The Hon. Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, will hold a press conference this afternoon to announce the government's intention to move forward on the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and the free trade agenda in general.
"How can we allow our government to collaborate with a regime that allowed 45 trade union leaders to be killed last year, 114 indigenous leaders murdered and thousands of people displaced? We demand that Ottawa listens to the voices of ordinary people here and in Colombia and stop this deal before it's too late," said OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas, representing 130,000 unionized members across Ontario.
Colombia has one of the worst human rights records in the Western hemisphere. In 2008 the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade issued a report calling for an independent human rights impact assessment before any deal was signed. Prime Minister Harper went ahead anyway, but not without the support of Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and most of his caucus.
"It is time to kill this deal now because we all know it will not benefit any of us. The only ones who will benefit are Canadian corporations and the economic elite whose profits will increase at the same time that murders and disappearances escalate," said Thomas.
For further information: For further information: Jen Giroux, OPSEU Executive Board Member, (705) 690-4386; Brenda Wall, OPSEU Campaigns Officer, (416) 254-9903