Alex Atamanenko on Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Alex Atamanenko, NDP MP for British Columbia Southern Interior (B.C.) during debate on Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act.
Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. There are three fundamentally important criteria for assessing the merits of trade agreements.
First, does the proposed partner respect democracy, human rights, adequate labour and environmental standards, and Canadian values? If there are challenges in these regards, is the partner on a positive trajectory toward these goals?
Second, is the proposed partner’s economy of significant or strategic value to Canada? Third, are the terms of the proposed agreement satisfactory?
The proposed free trade agreement with Honduras clearly fails this test. Honduras is a country with undemocratic practices, a corrupt government, weak institutions and a record of human rights abuses. It has low standards and insignificant strategic value.
Honduras is a very poor country with a history of repressive, undemocratic politics and a seriously flawed human rights record. Leftist president Manuel Zelaya’s democratically elected government was toppled by a military coup in 2009. Since then, international observers have severely criticized the government’s actions and the elections because they fail to meet acceptable democratic standards.