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October 7, 2009
Letter to Liberal MP Scott Brison

Hon. Scott Brison, M.P.
Kings-Hants, N.S.
915 Confederation Building
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON. K1A 0A6
October 2, 2009

Dear Mr. Brison;
Your comments in the House of Commons this week related to Bill C-23, the proposed Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, went well beyond the pale of reasoned argument. In fact I and anyone I have talked with who has heard about your comments are outraged by the falsehoods that they contained.

It was shocking to have you stand in the House this week and say “…paramilitary groups have been disbanded in Colombia”. The only other politician who I have ever heard make such a blatantly false statement is Alvaro Uribe himself. Please note that many of Uribe’s Ministers and Party members are now either in jail or being investigated for ties with the paramilitary. You insult the Judiciary in Colombia when you call such connections between legislators and paramilitary groups currently under investigation as “hallucinations.

Even more outrageous is your statement made in the House “…To say that paramilitary forces are murdering union leaders today is false”, when every knowledgeable observer of the human rights situation in Colombia knows that trade union leaders are targeted today, as they were yesterday, by paramilitary groups operating with a nod and a wink from the Colombian armed forces. Any suggestion on your part that the killings of trade unionists are the work of “…drug gangsters who continue to exist…” is beneath contempt.

You should immediately and unequivocally apologize in the House of Commons next week for these intemperate remarks. You should also issue a public statement apologizing to the long suffering Colombian people, and in particular to the families and work colleagues of the murdered trade union leaders for your comments, and offer condolences for their loss.


Rick Arnold.
Common Frontiers-Canada

*Common Frontiers – is a multi sectoral network of labour, human rights, environment, student, church, international development, and other social justice organizations. We propose the building of an alternative model for social and economic integration in the Americas.

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