The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg is investigating whether some of its T-shirts are connected to poorly run factories in developing nations.
Credits: ROSS ROMANIUK/QMI AGENCY
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba's premier is hopeful that Winnipeg's human rights museum will learn from its latest controversy and set an example for others.
Greg Selinger said Friday that executives with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights are getting a "lesson" through allegations of poor treatment of workers at a Central America factory run by a company it has purchased clothing from.
"They obviously want to have best practices on any products they make available as part of the human rights museum, and that those products reflect good labour practices and respect for human rights," he told QMI Agency. "So I'm confident they'll correct the problem as soon as possible."
The premier's comments came days after the national institution began facing questions about promotional T-shirts it has sold produced by the Gildan firm, one of whose factories in Honduras is criticized in a new report from the Workers Rights Consortium over alleged intimidation and harassment of its unionized staff.
Management of the $351-million museum under construction has stressed that the shirts made in Honduras in 2009 and 2010 had come from Gildan facilities other than the plant flagged in the report.
Still, Selinger suggested that the connection to the company is unsettling.
"I think everybody was a little surprised and disappointed, and I know they themselves wish that it hadn't happened," the premier said of the museum, which hasn't bought merchandise from Gildan in about two years.
"They're supposed to be an example of human rights around the world and in Canada, and I know they take their mandate seriously. I'm sure they'll correct the problem as soon as possible."
Museum communications director Angela Cassie said Selinger "recognizes that we're taking this seriously, and that's one of the reasons we're looking into" the issue and trying to get more information from the Workers Rights Consortium.
"We know what people expect of the museum, and certainly that's what we've been working toward," she said Friday. "We're going to investigate this, but also look at what we can do differently moving forward, and learn from it."