No backroom NAFTA deal, Council of Canadians tells Trudeau on eve of Trump meeting

Media Release
February 10, 2017

NAFTA protest

As Prime Minister Trudeau heads to Washington for closed-door meetings with U.S. President Trump, the Council of Canadians and thousands of its supporters are urging the Prime Minister not to pursue a backroom deal on NAFTA.

The Council of Canadians, founded in opposition to the original free trade agreement between the U.S. and Canada, demands that the renegotiation process be fair and transparent and include full consultation with the public, civil society and Indigenous peoples. It urges Trudeau to stand up to President Trump's dangerous agenda and seek an agreement that benefits people and the environment instead.

“For years, we have seen the ravages of NAFTA,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “It’s time to put an end to the Chapter 11 corporate lawsuits that have cost Canada millions of dollars, eroded our environmental and public policy, hollowed out manufacturing towns and put hundreds of thousands of people out of work, and created greater inequality in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.”

They are calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to ensure any NAFTA renegotiations:

  • Eliminate Chapter 11, the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process that allows foreign corporations to sue governments over future profits.
  • Protect water from export by removing all references to water as a service. 
  • Eliminate NAFTA’s energy proportionality rule, which forces a proportion of Canadian energy to be exported to the U.S., locking Canada into continued tar sands production.
  • Prioritize good jobs, democracy and the environment.
  • Include full public consultations.

“We must demand that the Canadian government be vigilant to ensure trade talks are fair, open and transparent – all things the Liberals promised in the last election,” says Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “There cannot be closed-door negotiations that put the interests of corporations ahead of the interests of people and the environment.”

Canadians can sign an open letter to Trudeau with these demands at canadians.org.

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