Monday, May 27, 2013

The human rights fly in the CETA ointment

I'm sure Liberal Senator Joan Fraser was speaking for all of us when she expressed her displeasure at the idea that Europe seeks to link the Canada-EU trade deal to human rights.

Referring to the Strategic Partnership Agreement, CETA's parallel political companion, Senator Rivers explained : 
The SPA would enshrine "our common commitment to human rights, to certain common values and to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons," Liberal Senator Joan Fraser said in the Senate on April 18. 
However, "the problem is that in the European formula they want to include a clause that would make it possible for the trade agreement to be suspended if the Europeans judge that Canada had engaged in a serious violation of human rights, Ms. Fraser said. " 
Canada wants to keep trade and human rights separate ....
The Canadian government has "very properly and entirely appropriately refused" to link the two issues, trying instead to find other ways to "reassure Europeans on human rights," Ms. Fraser said.  
Damn straight. 
Just tell them none of our other trade agreements are linked to human rights.

China? You're kidding, right?

Colombia? Sure the US State Dept.'s  Colombia 2012 Human Rights Report refers to "the worst human rights record in the hemisphere" including :
"Corruption exacerbated by drug revenue; extrajudicial killings; insubordinate military collaboration with members of illegal armed groups; harassment of human rights groups and activists; trafficking in persons; illegal child labor; political killings; killings of members of the public security forces and local officials; widespread use of land mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs); kidnappings and forced disappearances; subornation and intimidation of judges, prosecutors, and witnesses; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of movement; widespread recruitment and use of child soldiers; violence against women, including rape and forced abortions; and killings, harassment, and intimidation of teachers and trade unionists."
But did we let that get in the way of signing off on the Colombia-Canada FTA two years ago, even though Canadian exports to Colombia only amounted to 0.15% ?

The hell we didn't. 

After Libs and Cons voted for it 183 to 78 in the House, CIDA backed Canadian extraction industries consultants to rewrite Colombian mining regulations, the Toronto Stock Exchange opened shop, Scotiabank started buying up Colombian banks, and just this January, Foreign Affairs Min  John Baird lifted the ban on Canadian arms manufacturers exporting assault weapons to Colombia, where we're sure they'll be put to continued good use securing the 40% of the country now under consideration for mining contracts by Canadian companies, as whole villages and local mining companies with the bad luck to be sitting on top the gold or oil need to be displaced, even if it means killing off the occasional protesting local priest.

Fun fact : The Canadian embassy in Bogata Colombia resides inside the Scotiabank building. 

So, EU, don't be bothering us about linking human rights to trade. 
As Senator Joan Fraser points out, in Canada we like to keep 'em separate :
The Canadian government has "very properly and entirely appropriately refused" to link the two issues.


West End Bob said...

Sure looks like a lot of bull shit the cretins pictured are shovellin,' Alison . . . .

Anonymous said...

Or unmarked graves?


Anonymous said...

A year ago Harper expanded the Canada-Chile FTA. Two days ago Chile fined Barrick Gold $16 million for environmental violations.

Boris said...

I think the Europeans understand something about where we're headed. World fucking stage, Harper: Trade agreements count. Pissy little vanity wars in the Third World do not.

Danneau said...

This kind of stuff evokes guffaws (wistful, sad guffaws) when it runs up against Jeffrey Simpson's pronouncements about how Canada's standing in the international community remains untarnished. Maybe it just happens that at one time we looked good compared to our neighbours to the South. Were I to be travelling, I don't think I would be stitching any maple leaves on my pack. Canadian are just beginning to feel at home the exploitation that has happened elsewhere in the world at the hands of "Canadian" business concerns. In effect, having looted the rest of the world, it's now time to complete the trifecta here at home.

Anonymous said...

Six months ago Nigel Wright demanded Newfoundland deregulate its fish processing industry so CETA partners could loot it.

Long past time anyone in Canada should be imagining Harper won't sell out the country to foreign corporations.

miramichimike said...

Alison. Great articles I am now a dedicate follower.

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