As we previously reported, Canada has taken the unfortunate step of getting involved in Ecuador’s long running Chevron Shakedown effort with one of their courts agreeing to hear a case related to the ongoing lawsuits. Some of their prominent citizens have warned against the foolish nature of going down this path, but thus far things remain on track. Recent news leads me to suspect that Ecuador is trying to win friends and influence people in the Great White North in preparation for the trial, perhaps to get some public opinion movement on their side. And where did they start their search for new Canadian buddies? With the unions, of course. (Toronto Sun)
Why is a progressive Canadian union cozying up with one of the world’s most regressive regimes? Why are they boasting about meeting with officials of a government that Human Rights Watch says has “abused its power to harass, intimidate, and punish” its political opponents?
Perhaps we should direct that question to the Canadian branch of the Union of Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), whose leaders recently returned from a tour of Ecuador.
Ecuador is controlled by the hardline socialist government of strongman leader Rafael Correa. The government routinely seizes private property, shuts down critical newspapers, and systematically fires independent judges and replaces them with government cronies.
This is not exactly the type of regime that progressive Canadian unions should be rubbing elbows with, and yet, the UFCW are singing the government’s praises.
According to the union’s website, its leaders participated in an “international solidarity exchange.” The union bosses met with Ecuadorian officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss workers’ rights, particularly when it comes to the protection of temporary foreign workers in Canada and migrant workers around the world. The news release on their website makes no mention of Ecuador’s laundry list of human rights offenses; instead, it simply regurgitates Ecuadorian government propaganda about an ongoing lawsuit against the US-based oil company Chevron.
The author, Candice Malcolm, really tears into the supposedly “progressive” union for their dalliance with Correa, noting how some of their leaders were invited down for all expense paid trips to the tropical nation. She further wonders whether other prominent groups or even government officials are receiving similar invitations and having the wheels greased for some collaborative effort.
The editorial also does an excellent job of pointing out the tactics that Ecuador and their leftist allies in the United States have employed to date. The entire campaign has been a public relations push to “dirty” up the reputation of not only Chevron, but the entire oil industry, hoping to turn public opinion against them. Perhaps the people of Canada should take a step back and recall just how much of their own economy runs on oil and other energy extraction industrial activity. Their new “friends” from Ecuador are no friends at all and are looking to drag the Canadian court system into a massive case of fraud which has already been widely discredited in courts around the world. Rather than serving justice, they could be setting themselves up for a figurative black eye in a very public way.
For any newer readers who may not be familiar with this long running saga, you can catch up on our coverage of this story over the past several years here.