Civil Society groups question Senate’s haste in passing Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement

July 2, 2009

Dear Senators Le Breton and Cowan:

On June 11, shortly after the killings that took place in the Amazon area of Peru, our three civil society organizations wrote to you urging the Senate to halt Bill C-24, implementing legislation for the Canada – Peru Free Trade Agreement. We had every reason to expect that the Senate, often referred to as Canada’s court of sober second thought, would have taken the time to investigate the reasons for the Indigenous protest in Peru that was dealt with harshly by authorities. The resulting deaths of protesters and police led to a serious political crisis in Peru including the resignation of the prime minister, the sudden revoking of controversial Amazonian development laws, and a nationally broadcast apology from the president.

However, with unseemly haste, the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade issued a press release on June 17 announcing that the Senate had passed Bill C-24, which then received royal assent on June 19. With so much reason to delay ratifying the Canada-Peru FTA, we are left wondering what went wrong at the Senate.

– Read the entire letter (PDF)