June 29, 2009

The National Post reports that, "The idea of harnessing the free market to make the still-troubled (public health care) system run more efficiently is picking up steam (in Canada)."

"A report issued late last year by the (Ontario) Health Coalition said it found more than 120 for-profit diagnostic and surgical clinics across the country, and 89 possible violations of the federal legislation that governs the medicare system."

Across Canada:

"The (little-known private) CareImaging (Cancer Diagnostics Centre) LP clinic revealed this week it is expanding its unique, Mississauga, Ont.-based PET scan service to Windsor."

"Quebec, already the unofficial heartland of private medicine, is expected to soon implement Bill 33, a law that would pave the way for more private surgical clinics, carrying out procedures funded by taxpayers."

"Mike Murphy, New Brunswick's Health Minister, has said he will consider similar use of private clinics to deliver publicly financed operations and diagnostic tests."

June 29, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports that, "Canada has asked the United States for talks on a new chapter of free trade that would cover spending by states, provinces and cities and guard against a feared rise of protectionist Buy American measures."

"Trade Minister Stockwell Day asked his American counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, to agree to 'exploring' such negotiations – marking the first time Canada has brought the idea directly to the Obama administration."

Mélisa Leclerc, Mr. Day's spokesperson, said in an e-mail that the trade minister, "made clear Canada's willingness to negotiate expanded, reciprocal market-access guarantees with regard to government procurement markets and sought Ambassador Kirk's agreement to explore the feasibility of such a negotiation.”

"The Canadian strategy is to propose a trade agreement that will prevent ('protectionist') actions in the long term and, in the meantime, if the provinces agree, to offer interim guarantees that provincial procurement in Canada will be open to U.S. firms, if the United States exempts Canada now from Buy American provisions."

June 29, 2009

Reuters reports that, "A United Nations meeting on the global economic crisis adopted proposals on Friday for reforming the world financial system..."

"After months of negotiations, over 140 members of the U.N. General Assembly approved by consensus a 15-page resolution that is short on specifics but includes a call for increased U.N. involvement in global economic policy-making."

"The final resolution was watered down from an earlier version prepared by U.N. General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto, a leftist former foreign minister of Nicaragua, that Western delegations said was too radical."

"Among other things, the draft calls for increased representation of developing countries and better gender balance at the IMF and World Bank. The resolution says some countries have called for a 'more efficient reserve system' and urges further study of the possibility of replacing the U.S. dollar with the IMF's Special Drawing Rights as the top reserve unit."

"The United States said the world body had no authority to order changes."

June 26, 2009

The Council of Canadians has long opposed the Canadian government's support of the asbestos industry.

In September 2000, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow wrote then-Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew stating, "Canada’s aggressive support of the asbestos industry and the pursuit of markets, in spite of the estimated and projected death toll from asbestos, is a disgraceful indication that Canada values trade in toxic materials above the health of its own citizens and the health of workers around the world."

We also released a report that year that called on the federal government to "plan for the global elimination of the asbestos industry and initiate a 'just transition' strategy for the industry and its workers." We highlighted that, "A primary consideration must be to ensure that the cost of the demise of this industry is not exclusively or disproportionately borne by the workers and the towns that are dependent on the asbestos industry.”

June 26, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports that John Manley has signed on as "the new head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE). In taking this job, he becomes the new voice of Corporate Canada, a role that has been filled for 28 years by retiring president and chief executive officer Thomas d'Aquino."

"He will join the CCCE in October, and said issues at the top of the agenda will include regulation of financial services, the U.S.-Canada relationship, energy and the environment (he speaks of the two issues in one breath), and climate change."

The Canwest News Service specifies that, "He will begin work on Oct. 19 as president-designate to ensure a smooth transition, and take over in full Jan. 1."

The Globe and Mail adds, "In his new role, he should enjoy access to the corridors of power, as the head of the CCCE or its staff have met with the Prime Minster's Office or federal Finance officials a total of 15 times in the past 18 months, according to the federal lobbyist registry. Those talks ranged from tax policy to energy and small business. On at least three occasions, Mr. d'Aquino had face-to-face meetings with Mr. Harper."