With Trump's election as President of the U.S., many people who oppose free trade agreements have been painted with the same brush: as racists who want to go back to another time, who are against an open society and who hate diversity and immigration. Council of Canadians' Trade Campaigner Sujata Dey asks who are the protectionists, isolationists, and racists.
Sujata Dey's blog
This week, there were two competing narratives on free trade. While (astonishingly!) both the IMF and The Economist said there are problems with free trade, others asserted that free trade is under attack by "populists." Some have determined that the electorate is under the influence of scaremongers and must be re-educated to rid them of their fearful, misinformed views. You may be a "populist." Find out if you are one.
From NAFTA to TPP, Canada hasn't learned from free trade mistakes.
Council of Canadians' chapter activist Fiona McMurran takes us on a tour of Welland's abandoned factories, and Council trade campaigner Sujata Dey talks about the lessons Canada should learn before we thinking about signing on to TPP or CETA.
Once know as the bustling industrial heartland of Niagara, “where rails and water meet”, Welland has now become the city that free trade left behind, according to Fiona McMurran Niagara chapter activist. She takes us on a virtual tour of her region, and illustrates the devastating damage free trade caused to her region's manufacturing sector.
People who support free trade agreements usually make one frequent argument: these agreements will help our bottom line. Without them, they warn, Canada will be left out like a social loser in the world economic cocktail party circuit. And we all know what happens to social outcasts: they get battered, figuratively, by low growth and missed economic opportunities.
CETA is very close to go to the European Parliament the end of this year or the beginning of next...and it will be a nailbiter.
Given that nothing can be left to chance, Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians, along with executive director Garry Neil and Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner are returning to Europe to tell people there about Canada’s experience with NAFTA.
On the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), International Trade minister Chrystia Freeland has claimed to be in “listening mode." And she says no decision has been made yet. It is widely reported that she is touring the country to hear Canadians on the TPP.
In February, at Question Period in the House of Commons, she said, “Mr. Speaker, on the TPP, we are doing exactly what we promised we would do during the election campaign. We told Canadians that we would take the time to listen to Canadians and to consult widely on this deal. I myself have been part of more than 50 consultations, and our whole-of-government approach has included more than 200.”
But it is not clear whom she is actually consulting. From our experience, it has been the usual blue-chip industry reps, chamber of commerce boards, and lawyers and academics -- not you or me.
For Canadians, the American presidential primaries always promise great entertainment value. They’re showy, strewn with flags and red, white and blue balloons flooding the convention floors. They’re full of one-liners and zingers, and full-frontal combat.
And this year, there is a surprising turn in the election. The TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the mega-agreement with 40 per cent of the world’s economy, is turning many voters sour. It, and NAFTA before it, evoke an allergy to free trade agreements in general.
Many of the frontrunners have come out against the TPP. Ten of the original presidential candidates, both Republican and Democrat, have opposed it. Hillary Clinton has rallied against an undemocratic deal. Bernie Sanders has made it a rallying cry.
Canada's International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland's wrote a book on Plutocrats where she says, "Trying to slant the rules of the game in your favour isn’t an aberration, it’s what all businesses seek to do. It is all about whether your society has the right rules and policing able to enforce them.” That is why she cannot support the TPP's pro-corporate rulebook.
Everyone is talking about inequality and the one percent these days: U.S. President Obama, all the democratic candidates and even Vogue magazine. But somehow, they haven't connected it to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal that will write the rule book in favour of plutocrats and the one-percent.