As Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper signs a new trade deal with Honduras, he dismisses human rights issues as unrelated to the Honduran government and accuses human rights activists of being ”selfish and short-sighted.”
“We know there are significant problems of security and human rights in this country but we have no information to suggest those are in any way perpetrated by the government,” the Prime Minister said.
He has no patience, though, for opponents of free-trade deals, saying those that advocate blocking them on grounds of human rights are “selfish and short-sighted” protectionists who would deny Hondurans the gains of commerce.
Read full article in the Globe and Mail here.
In recent letters to the editor, Harper’s statements are considered insulting:
By accusing those of us opposed to the recently-signed trade deal with Honduras as “protectionist,” Stephen Harper has again demonstrated his ability to purposely obfuscate matters requiring a genuine response.
Canadians are rightfully concerned about the legitimacy this trade deal brings to a Honduran political and business elite busy repressing opponents to the coup d’état they orchestrated.
Unlawful arrests, torture, disappearances and political assassinations are all very real in Honduras today.
Our Prime Minister’s flippant comments are insulting to Canadians disturbed by the grave abuses rampant in Honduras, now our newest free trade partner.
René M. Guerra Salazar, Ottawa
Read more letters to the editor here.