September 15, 2017

The Globe and Mail reports, "The Trump administration is pushing for a 'sunset clause' in the North American free-trade agreement that would automatically kill the deal after five years unless all three sides agreed to keep it in place."

The article highlights, "Canada and Mexico immediately rejected the idea, arguing that it would create unnecessary uncertainty for businesses, which would not want to make investments without reassurance that market access between the three countries is here to stay. Such a provision, if inserted into NAFTA, would all but guarantee that the current trade-related drama would play out in the United States again in five years' time."

David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the U.S., says, "Not to try to make light of it, but if every marriage had a five-year sunset clause on it, I think our divorce rate would be a heck of a lot higher than it is right now. The best thing you can do in these things is to try to have goodwill and try to work through tough times rather than set an arbitrary date."

September 14, 2017

A study found that the CETA ICS provision would not have stopped the NAFTA Chapter 11 ISDS challenge launched by Lone Pine against a fracking moratorium in Quebec.

The Trudeau government is reportedly pushing to have the Investment Court System (ICS) replace the Chapter 11 Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

While this is being presented as a progressive reform, closer scrutiny suggests it is highly problematic and against the public interest.

September 13, 2017

During the October 2015 federal election, the federal Liberals stated, "Stephen Harper’s changes to the Fisheries Act, and his elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, have weakened environmental protections. We will review these changes, restore lost protections, and incorporate more modern safeguards."

Following the election, the Trudeau government conducted a series of consultations on the Navigation Protection Act, the Fisheries Act, the National Energy Board Act, and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

The results of those reviews have been disappointing.

For example, Transport Canada issued a response (on June 20) accepting the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities recommendations (from March 23) on the Navigation Protection Act, the first of which recommends leaving only a scant list of 99 rivers, 64 lakes and three oceans protected under the Act.

September 13, 2017
Ben Gotschall and Andrea Harden-Donahue
Ben Gotschall and Andrea Harden-Donahue during the Prairies Energy East speakers tour, April 2015

I first heard the expression “from NIMBY (not in my back yard) to NOPE (not on planet earth)” from Ben Gotschall, a rancher and Energy Director with Bold Nebraska. Ben first entered the fight against TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline because it threatened the Ogallala aquifer, the water source his ranch depends on. The Council of Canadians brought him to Canada to speak with audiences along the Energy East pipeline path in New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He shared insights about his journey, which started with his desire to protect his ranch and resulted in him joining a movement that rejects the expansion of the Alberta tar sands because of its impacts on Indigenous communities, our water and climate.

September 13, 2017

The Council of Canadians is endorsing and mobilizing for a national day of action in support of a ban on nuclear weapons.

On August 19, 2016, the Trudeau government voted against the adoption of a United Nations report that recommended negotiations for a global treaty banning nuclear weapons begin in 2017. Despite Canada's vote, the report was passed 68 to 22 and the talks began in March 2017. On July 7 of this year, more than 120 countries voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This coming September 20, heads of state, foreign ministers and other representatives of governments will sign the historic treaty at the UN headquarters in New York City.

The treaty is a multilateral legally-binding instrument that prohibits a full range of nuclear-weapon-related activities, such as undertaking to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of these weapons.