Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie

Nov. 16 : Bill C-23 is back on the agenda at the House of Commons

16 November 2009

Call/send letters urging government and MPs to oppose the ratificacion of Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement currently being debated in House of Commons. Instead, demand that the Canadian government pressure Colombian authorities to put an effective end to widespread paramilitary threats against trade union and social movement activists.

While being on and off the order paper since September, Bill C-23 is now back on for Nov. 16. Scott Brison, Liberal Trade Critic from Nova Scotia continues to champion the deal but there are a number of Liberals (Maria Minna, Gerard Kennedy, and others) who are expressing concern. The Colombian government is generating new academic reports that try to spin the murders of trade unionists.

If they smell the possibility of success, the Conservatives will try to ram it through second reading in the House, send it to the Committee (CIIT) and try to ram in through there with a perfunctory review by the end of the year. There are about 4 legislative weeks ahead before the Christmas break. So this week, starting Monday Nov. 16, it is urgent that we try to generate as many letters/emails/phone calls as possible to both Conservative MPs, and Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Caucus to keep up the pressure and the divisions in the party on the Colombia FTA.

Here is a sample letter you could use, adapt and amend as you see fit.

You can find a list of Liberal MPs addresses below that should be targetted.


Sample letter

Dear Liberals and Conservative MPs,

I am closely following debates in the House of Commons on Bill C23 and am discouraged to see such strong support from the Liberal Party. Liberal Trade Critic Scott Brison regularly gives out biased information and outright falsehoods.

Colombia continues to be the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists. Trade unionists and human rights defenders continue to be stigmatized by government officials putting their lives and the lives of their families in extreme danger.

Indigenous and Afrocolombian communities have been massively and violently displaced from their lands by illegal paramilitary actions to make way for investments in agribusiness and resource extraction.

Former paramilitary thugs have regrouped into lethal organizations that continue to run drugs north and have ties to a number government officials who are under investigation.

Recently, the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Colombia CUT (Central Trade Union Federation) once again raises its voice before governments, international human rights groups and the International Labour Organization (ILO), to protest the difficult and dangerous situation being faced by the Colombian labour movement. During the fisrt week of November, 13 UNION LEADERS FACE DEATH THREATS.

The (13) union leaders who are facing death threats are:

JESUS TOVAR – Fenaltrase
DOMINGO TOVAR – Secretary-General CUT Nacional Branch
HENRY GORDON – Fiscal CUT Atlántico (Legal Representative CUT Atlantic Department)
EURIPIDE YANCE – Sinaltrainal (National Food Workers’ Union)
EDGAR PUA – ANTHOC (National Health Workers Union)
JAVIER BERMUDEZ – President CUT Atlántico Department
ELIAS PINEDO – CUT Atlántic Department
CAMPO QUINTERO – Human Rights Officer CUT Atlántic Department
ISRAEL BARREIRO – (Former union leader)
HERIBERTO AVENDAÑO – CUT Atlántic Department

A free trade deal with Colombia will make a bad situation worse. I urge you to insist on an independent Human Rights Impact Assessment on the terms of the trade deal BEFORE you consider ratification. Its the right thing to do.




Here is a list of Liberal MPs e-mail addresses below that should be targetted :

AlexandrA Mendes,,
Bob Rae,,
Brian Murphy,,
Frank Valeriote,,
Gerrard Kennedy,,
Joe Volpe,,
Justin Trudeau,,
Keith Martin,,
Maria Minna,,
Michael Ignatieff Assistant 1,,
Paul Szabo,,
Ruby Dhalla,,
Scott Brison,,
Siobhan Coady,,
Ujjal Dosanjh,
Wayne Easter,,
Irwin Cotler,

Below is a list of key Liberal MPs complete adresses, fax and phone numbers, that need to be pressured to oppose Bill C-23.

Note: Please copy Peter Julian, NDP MP for Burnaby-New Westminster, on any correspondance sent:


Scott Brison (Liberal, Kings-Hants, Nova Scotia – On International Trade Committee): Constituency office: 360 Main St, Suite 12, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, B4P 1C4; Telephone: (902) 542-4010; Fax: (902) 542-4184;

Mario Silva (Liberal, Davenport, Toronto – On International Trade Committee): Constituency Office: 1674 St Clair Ave West, Toronto, Ontario, M6N 1H8; Telephone: (416) 654-8048; Fax: (416) 654-5083;

John Cannis (Liberal, Scarborough Centre, Toronto – On International Trade Committee): Constituency Office: 1450 Midland Ave, Suite 211, Scarborough, Ontario, M1P 4Z8; Telephone: (416) 752-2358; Fax: (416) 752-4624;

Michael Ignatieff (Liberal Leader, Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Toronto): Constituency Office: 656 The Queensway, Etobicoke, Ontario, M8Y 1K7; Telephone: (416) 251-5510; Fax: (416) 251-2845;

Bob Rae (Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic, Toronto Centre): Constituency Office: 514 Parliament Street (Main Office), Toronto, Ontario, M4X 1P4; Telephone: (416) 954-2222; Fax: (416) 954-9649;

Navdeep Bains (Liberal, Mississauga-Brampton South): Constituency Office: 6660 Kennedy Road, Suite 215A, Mississauga (ON) L5T 2M9, Phone: (905) 795-5220;

Martha Hall-Findlay (Liberal, Willowdale, ON): Constituency Office: 145 Sheppard West, Willowdale (ON) M2N 1M7; Phone: (416) 223-2858; Fax: (416) 223-9715;

Gerard Kennedy (Liberal, Parkdale-High Park, Toronto, ON): Constituency Office: Phone: (416) 769-5072; Fax: (416) 769-8343;

Maria Minna (Liberal, Beaches-East York, Toronto): Constituency Office: 1912 Danforth Avenue, Toronto (ON) M4C 1J4; Phone: (416) 467-0860; Fax: (416) 467-0905;



Prime Minister Hon. Stephen Harper
Ottawa Office:
Tel: (613)992-4211
Fax (613) 941-6900

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Hon. Lawrence Cannon
Tel: (613) 992-5516
Fax: (613) 992-6802

Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas
Hon. Peter Kent
Ottawa Office
Phone: (613) 992-0253
Fax: (613) 992-0887
Thornhill Office
Phone: (905) 886-1426
Fax: (905) 886-5267