In 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Canada’s new “Americas Policy,” through which Canada would build trade ties with governments that shared Canada’s values of “democracy, human rights, rule-of-law and good governance.” The Canadian government then announced negotiations for a free trade and investment deal with Colombia, the country with the worst human rights record in the hemisphere.
Colombia’s Congress last night passed bills to implement a free-trade accord with the U.S., advancing the agreement ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit this weekend for the Summit of the Americas.
Increasingly, politically-motivated incarceration threatens Colombian unionists, human rights workers, and political activists. They are already too familiar with killings and disappearances at the hands of armed enforcers. International solidarity with victims has grown over recent decades, with the labor movement in particular taking on a prominent role in defending human rights in Colombia.
40th PARLIAMENT, 3rd SESSION.Standing Committee on International Trade EVIDENCE # 1600, Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Ms. Dawn Paley (Journalist, As an Individual):
Thank you for inviting me here this afternoon.
My name is Dawn Paley and I'm a journalist based in Vancouver. I've travelled to Colombia twice, for a total of about three months, and I've spent a great deal of time researching Canada's relationship with Colombia from here.
Deal tabled as assassinations and displacement continue
The Conservatives tabled the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement in Parliament today, reviving a deal many thought better left for dead.
Renewed interest in the deal comes weeks after an Amnesty International report found Indigenous peoples in Colombia are at risk of being exterminated by state forces, right wing paramilitary groups and guerrilla organizations.
But Canadian officials are ignoring Amnesty’s report, focusing instead on economic aspects of the deal.
Poverty, Human Rights and Canada’s Role in the African Palm Oil Sector
Report prepared by Garry Leech for Inter Pares, September 2009
An interview with Laura Carlsen, director of the Americas Program of the International Relations Center
One of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first major foreign visits after being elected in 2006 to his first minority government was to Latin America and the Caribbean. The trip aimed to promote a Canadian foreign policy focused on establishing "new partnerships in the Americas."