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Vote now, the deadline is Monday, April 1.

CUPE has nominated the federal government for the Code of Silence Award for its role in maintaining the secrecy of NAFTAs Chapter 11 tribunals.

The dubious honour, to be awarded in April by the Canadian Association of Journalists, would confirm the Chrt0069en Liberals as the most secretive government in Canada.

CUPE argues that the secrecy of the NAFTA tribunals violates Canadians rights to freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

The NAFTA rules undermine our democratic rights, says CUPE National President Judy Darcy. Kangaroo courts meeting in secret make it near impossible for the public or the media to know whats going on or to hold our politicians to account.

NAFTAs Chapter 11 gives foreign corporations the power to sue governments for injuring their investments. Tribunals hear claims behind closed doors. Claims to date include challenges to public postal delivery, a ban on the export of hazardous waste and a refusal to allow the export of bulk water.

CUPE has launched a Charter challenge, contending that the secrecy of the NAFTA tribunal process contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Represented by the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, CUPE launched its challenge jointly with Democracy Watch in May 2001. The case is pending.

To vote for the Code of Silence Award, email caj@igs.net.