Human rights come first

CALGARY HERALD, October 18, 2012

Re: “Harper Tories should block Nexen takeover,” David Kilgour and Clive Ansley, Opinion, Oct. 17.

The revelations of gross human rights violations against the Falun Gong (Dafa) religion by the Chinese communist government (owners of the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company) have rocked the civilized world since David Kilgour and David Matas released their findings in Bloody Harvest in 2007.

A recent update by Matas affirms the continued employee discrimination, incarceration and death of practitioners, including harvesting of organs for transplant to high-paying recipients.

Reports of such discrimination from former CNOOC employees now in Calgary raise yet another important criterion for the federal decision on their Nexen bid: If true and continuing abuses are occurring, the federal government cannot hide behind the “net benefit to Canadians” test. I know of no Canadian who could support the buyout of Nexen without absolute assurances that employees of CNOOC are free to practise their religion without harm.

What investigations have been completed into allegations of past and ongoing persecution in CNOOC? What commitments has the company made to ensure it will operate within the Canadian labour code, Charter of Rights, and occupational health and safety standards?

Canadians will not allow crimes against humanity to be trumped by shareholder and business considerations.

“Net benefit” includes our global stand on human rights.

David Swann, Calgary David Swann is Liberal MLA for Calgary Mountain View.

Original Article