A Civil Society Prescription for Canada at the 5thAmericas Summit, Trinidad, 17-19 April, 2009

April 15, 2009

The 5th Americas Summit represents an important crossroads for Canadian policy in this hemisphere. That's the message in a statement from the Americas Policy Group (APG) of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, released today.

The APG comprises some 40 organizations, including human rights groups, churches, labour unions, development organizations and research institutions with decades of experience in the region.

"The Summit provides Canada an opportunity to signal a shift towards a clear priority for human rights and broad-based development over the rights of private investors in the Americas," says Rusa Jeremic, Co-Chair of the APG and Global Economic Justice Program Coordinator for KAIROS.

The APG statement reviews changes underway in the hemisphere and finds Canada's policies risk placing this country on the wrong side of a crucial divide - between policies that reinforce inequalities and promote a military approach to security issues, on the one hand, and policies that support economic justice, fair trade, democratic development and corporate accountability, on the other.

Canada's promotion of NAFTA-style trade agreements and Canadian investment, on the pretence that human rights and democracy will "trickle down" as a consequence, is giving the country a bad name in the region.

The APG statement presents recommendations for Canada's policies in four key areas: Trade and Investment; Canadian Extractive Industries; Security; Democracy and Human Rights.

"The people of the Americas expect better of us," says William Payne, APG Coordinator. "We can't afford to let them down."

Click here for the APG Statement and a contact list of Civil Society Representatives attending the Summit or available to comment on the paper and Summit proceedings.

For more information, please contact:

Peter Puxley
Media Relations
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
ppuxley@ccic.ca