September 12, 2014

In the world of official government announcements, a two-paragraph media release sent out in the late afternoon on the Friday before Parliament resumes sitting is the best way for a government to admit, "We know this is really, really unpopular, but we're doing it anyway."

That's the way the Harper government, by way of a release quoting Trade Minister Ed Fast, announced that it had decided to ignore widespread public opposition, parliamentary opposition from the NDP, Greens and even lukewarm Liberal criticism, an ongoing First Nations legal challenge, and even division at its own cabinet table and grassroots membership and proceed with the ratification of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).

September 12, 2014

Opposition to fracking has swept the world in recent years, and rightly so. Dramatic images of tap water set on fire, compelling stories of people suffering from water and land contamination and clear scientific research documenting the risks. 

Much of this activism has focused on stopping fracking at the source, and this has seen real success. The decision to prohibit fracking with a moratorium in Nova Scotia being a recent example. 

September 11, 2014

The European Commission -- the executive arm of the European Union tasked with negotiating trade agreements, including the Canada-EU CETA and the US-EU TTIP -- today rejected a European-wide citizens' initiative on the controversial trade deals.

September 11, 2014

Robinson Huron Treaty

Twenty-one First Nations are challenging Canada and Ontario in court for the failure of successive governments to meet obligations under the Robinson Huron Treaty. Their lawsuit addresses the issue of the annuity to be paid to each member residing in the 92,463 square kilometres of territory in northern Ontario covered by the treaty.

September 8, 2014

As reported by the CBC and the Globe & Mail, Canada and the European Union announced on September 8 that they had completed negotiations on the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), which the Canadian government says "will lay out a strategic direction for stronger future relations and collaboration between Canada and EU member states at the bilateral and multilateral levels," including in the areas of law enforcement, the energy sector, security and intelligence cooperation, and crisis management.

If you're like most Canadians, you're probably saying to yourself, "I didn't even know we were negotiating a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Europe." In fact, negotiations have been underway since 2011. Such political framework agreements are typically signed by the EU and its free trade partners, aimed at increasing cooperation on a range of foreign policy issues. In October of 2013, the EU's ambassador to Canada stated that there wouldn't be a deal on CETA or the SPA unless the other was also completed.