Luckily, former Con MP Scott Brison, now the Liberal trade critic, has found a way around that.
In a deal he hammered out with Colombian President Uribe at Davros in January, Canada and Colombia will each do their own yearly human rights assessments instead.
What's not to like? say the Libs.
Sure, our annual trade with Colombia is smaller than that with Rhode Island and 80% of Colombia’s imports to Canada are duty free already, but let's not forget what's really at stake here :
Scott Brison, in the House on Monday, Sept 14, 2009 :
"If we isolate Colombia in the Andean region and leave Colombia exposed and vulnerable to the ideological attacks of Chavez's Venezuela, we will be allowing evil to flourish."In a happy coincidence for the Libs and Cons, fighting evil in Colombia includes the handy bonus of providing cover for Canadian corporations to promote exploitation in a country that killed 45 trade unionists in 2009. and will be used to ease passage of the US-Colombia FTA, currently held up in Congress due to concerns about unchecked and increasing human rights abuses.
Saturday morning media-bash update : I see CBC's The House, the G&M, CP, etc are all touting the deal this morning as cats and dogs getting along nicely hey ho parliament does work after all let's see more of this etc. etc.
No, this is just a bipartisan attempt to get around the Trade Committee's motion to have an independent human rights assessment as a precondition to passing the bill. No one has ever doubted that the Canadian and Colombian governments could come up with their own human rights report cards to justify this deal after the fact.