The Trudeau government has continued to fast-track the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) through Parliament. Just this morning, it was sent for second reading – just 17 days after it was first presented.
Prime Minister Trudeau is desperate for a political “win,” before the October elections.
But we all know whose deal this really is – U.S. President Donald Trump’s.
And right now, progressive Democrats in the U.S. are using their majority power in the House of Representatives to push for stronger environmental and labour provisions in NAFTA 2.0, as well as to reduce protections for pharmaceuticals that lock-in higher drug costs for people like you and me, and lock in billions in profit for Big Pharma. We would all reap the benefits of these changes.
But these much-needed improvements from the U.S. will be harder to achieve if Canada rushes to ratify this deal.
While CUSMA is better than its predecessor, the deal is still rife with problems:
Canadian dairy farmers would be sacrificed to allow U.S. dairy products into our grocery stores, including milk from cows injected with genetically-engineered bovine growth hormone. The Council of Canadians helped bring Jim Goodman, a U.S. dairy farmer, to Canada this week so he can share stories of how small U.S. farmers – like Canadian ones – will suffer because of new provisions in CUSMA. The deal only benefits big, industrial farms.
The provisions around environmental protections are still far too weak. Some allow the government to forever subsidize pipelines including the TMX Trans Mountain pipeline and they fail to address the climate emergency we are living in.
It doesn’t do enough to protect workers’ rights.
It will increase the cost of prescription drugs. Today, we have 12 members of Parliament who are on record saying CUSMA should not be ratified until provisions benefitting Big Pharma corporations are removed, which is exactly what progressive Democrats in the U.S. are pushing for.
Foreign and domestic corporations would be granted greater rights to monitor and change Canadian regulations to their benefit on a wide range of public policies.
In short, this is still a corporate rights deal that requires significant changes.
The good news is, there is still a chance to make CUSMA better for people and the planet – but not if the government rushes the deal through Parliament in order to help Donald Trump.
Thank you for adding your voice!