Contributing Lawyers


Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross


Andrew Hudson

Canadian Government Starts Domestic Approval Process for Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (Again)

On March 10, 2010, Canada's Minister of International Trade, Peter Van Loan, tabled in the House of Commons legislation to implement the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, the Canada-Colombia Agreement on Labour Cooperation and the Canada-Colombia Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. This is the second time the Canadian Government has tabled in the House of Commons legislation to implement the trade agreements into Canada's domestic law. In 2009, the implementing legislation was slowed due to concerns vocalized by labour groups. Then, Prime Minister Harper asked Canada's Governor General to prorogue Parliament. All government bills that had not passed by the time of prorogation fell off the order table and need to be re-tabled.

Last week, the Government's agenda as set out in the Throne Speech indicated that the legislation to implement the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and Environmental and Labour Cooperation Agreements would be re-tabled.

We should expect opposition from labour groups and environmental groups. While the opposition parties want the agreements to undergo further negotiation, it is unclear whether they will want to defeat the legislation --- especially if they are tied to motions on non-confidence. Canadians would not want to go to an election over these trade agreements.

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