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A better North America is possible, says Maude Barlow

On page A4 of today’s Ottawa Citizen, Maude Barlow answers the question, ‘What should Harper say to Obama to get the most out of this visit?’

She writes, “While he is unlikely to do so, I would want Prime Minister Harper to say that a better North America is possible and that our two countries can work together to improve the lives of people and to rescue the environment.”

“We need to reject the agenda of freer trade, privatization and deregulation. With the International Monetary Fund saying the world’s advanced economies are in ‘depression,’ the prime minister should tell the president that this crisis won’t be solved by the same policies that brought us to this point.”

“Mr. Harper should also take this moment to say that he agrees with Mr. Obama’s call for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

“This would be the perfect occasion to say that trade between our two countries can be based on different principles and doesn’t need to undermine Canada’s energy security, threaten our water or allow corporate rights to exceed those of the public through NAFTA’s investor-state clause.”

“Given that Mr. Obama has criticized the lack of transparency and public participation in the Security and Prosperity Partnership, Mr. Harper should say he agrees and that any initiative to facilitate Canada-U.S. trade through regulatory changes should be open to public consultation, parliamentary debate and a vote in the House of Commons.”

The full article is at