Canadian Bishops to study impact of free trade on Mexico

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is part of a delegation in Mexico this week, studying the impact of free trade children, women and indigenous peoples.

Bishop Daniel Bohan, auxiliary bishop of Toronto, and a member of the CCCB Commission for Social Affairs are among the nine delegates on this mission, organized by KAIROS, a Canadian ecumenical organization that brings churches together around social justice issues, and partner organizations in Mexico.

The mission will consider alternatives and develop concrete recommendations that will be made to the Canadian government.

The delegates have meetings scheduled from March 11 to March 19, with human rights organizations, churches, labor unions, indigenous groups and women’s organizations.

Half of the delegation will go to Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, a city along the U.S. border that is built around maquiladoras, factories that employ cheap local workers.

The others will go to Chiapas to learn about the impact of free trade on indigenous and rural communities and the ongoing issue of militarization. Delegates will meet with national human rights and economic justice groups in Mexico City and representatives of the Canadian embassy.

The delegates are expected to submit their recommendations to the Canadian government during the Global Week of Action on Trade, April 10-16.

The Global Week of Action on Trade is part of the yearlong, international Make Poverty History campaign, which was launched at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Jan. 27.

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