In April 2016, the Canadian Labour Congress endorsed an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which expressed profound concerns about the issuance of export permits for Canada’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia, “despite flagrant incompatibilities of this contract with the human rights safeguards of our export controls.” The letter urged Prime Minister Trudeau to rescind this “immoral and unethical” decision. Since then, the silence of the CLC has been deafening.
Since it signed NAFTA (1994) and joined the Organization of American States, the Canadian government has aligned its foreign policy with that of the United States more closely than at any point in recent history. At the same time, the Canadian government has taken an increasing interest in the affairs of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Some attention has been paid to things like joint military exercises in the Caribbean with the U.S. and other allies, support for the damaging practices of Canadian mining companies and the expanding presence of Canadian financial interests in the global South, but a newer area of Canada’s foreign-policy posture warrants scrutiny: Canada’s deepening involvement in the controversial field of international “democracy promotion” activities.
In light of the graphic and well documented human-rights reports coming out of Haiti, the Canadian government has a number of serious questions to answer. It is doubtful that Canada has ever been so heavily implicated in an illegal intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean as it has in the case of Haiti.