Canada won't ''sell out to the almighty dollar'' when it
comes to talking human rights with China, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said
Harper told reporters travelling with him to the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference in Vietnam that Canada's trade and business relationship with China is an important one, but he declared: ''I don't think Canadians want us to sell out important Canadian values. They don't want us to sell out to the almighty dollar.''
Stephen Harper on Colombia:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismisses criticism that Canada should build free-trade links with problem-plagued Colombia.
"When we see a country like Columbia that has decided it has to address its social, political and economic problems, it wants to embrace economic freedom, it wants to embrace political democracy and human rights and social development, then we say we we're in," he said Monday in Bogota.
"Around the country we have 30,000 that have been detained or disappeared in last 10 years, three million internally displaced people; thousands have been killed," responded Lilia Solano, the director of Project Justice and Life.
"So how can someone say, 'OK, all this blood is running but business goes first'."
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was on the U.S Defense Intelligence Agency's list:
Then-Senator and now President Álvaro Uribe Vélez of Colombia was a "close personal friend of Pablo Escobar" who was "dedicated to collaboration with the Medellín [drug] cartel at high government levels," according to a 1991 intelligence report from U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officials in Colombia. The document was posted today on the website of the National Security Archive, a non-governmental research group based at George Washington University.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has ties to death squads:
President Alvaro Uribe’s right-wing Colombian government is dealing with a scandal stemming from revelations of ties between the paramilitary United Self Defense Forces of Colombia and ruling elements in Colombian society.
According to U.S. government sources, the paramilitaries have accounted for over 80 percent of Colombia’s political assassinations and much drug trafficking. Washington’s support for Colombian military and police operations, totaling $3.8 billion over six years, raises questions of U.S. complicity with human rights abuses there.
Harper speaks of the "almight dollar", as it relates to his human rights crusade with China, but there seems no conflict in putting dollars ahead of human rights in dealing with a very suspect Colombian government. In pushing for a free trade agreement, Harper effectively endorses the status quo in the most violent country in the region, with an atrocious human rights record.
Where were the pointed questions today? Was there a hint that Harper brought up human rights with the Colombian goverment, on par with the abrasive stance taken with the Chinese? It all seemed like a touchy, feely affair today, lauding the accomplishments, with little evidence of "pressure". Am I the only one that sees a lack of consistency?
Amnesty International's Alex Neve wonders about consistency too:
Neve said that support would be for naught if a free trade agreement with the country pushes the human rights situation out of the picture.
"It's our hope that he's going to recognize the importance of being consistent with the human rights message, that if he starts to become inconsistent then he immediately starts to lose his credibility."