September 4, 2017

Jerry Dias, Scott Sinclair, Thomas Walkom, Maude Barlow

The Trudeau government should be publicly affirming that it has an exit strategy and is prepared to walk away from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) now being renegotiated.

1- Labour rights
Yesterday, Reuters reported, "Canada’s biggest private-sector union [the 310,000 member Unifor] said NAFTA should be scrapped if Mexico cannot agree to better labor standards... Jerry Dias, national president of Canadian union Unifor, said NAFTA had been a 'lousy trade agreement for working-class people' and that the union was pushing his government to walk away from the talks if it could not secure them a better deal. 'If labor standards aren’t a part of a trade deal, then there shouldn’t be a trade deal', Dias told reporters in Mexico City on the sidelines of a second round of negotiations to update the 1994 trade agreement among the three countries."

September 4, 2017

Jack Gerard, the president of the American Petroleum Institute.

Bloomberg reports that "oil industry leaders" are "desperate" to preserve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The news service highlights, "Energy companies that sat on the sidelines during other recent trade negotiations are getting more involved on NAFTA — securing formal roles on committees advising the process, unleashing lobbyists to influence it and outlining their priorities for the administration."

In terms of "securing formal roles on committees", last month Foreign Affairs minister Chrystia Freeland named Sophie Brochu (the president and CEO of Gaz Métro) to her NAFTA advisory council, while Environment minister Catherine McKenna appointed Lorraine Mitchelmore (the former President & Canada Country Chairman of Shell Canada Limited) to her NAFTA Advisory Council on the Environment.

September 3, 2017

Running away from taking the action needed to confront the climate crisis? A Justin Trudeau and Enrique Pena Nieto photo-op in Ottawa, June 2016.

The second round of NAFTA negotiations is happening now (September 1-5) in Mexico City. Reuters reports, "U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators are zeroing in on ways to enshrine Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s sweeping energy reforms into a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico’s chief negotiator said on [September 2]. The 2014 reforms wrung control of the country’s oil and gas sector from state hands, opening it up to private investment, and incorporating them into the 23-year-old NAFTA is seen as a way to help preserve them for the long term."

September 2, 2017

Lorraine Mitchelmore

Federal environment minister Catherine McKenna has named a ten-person advisory council on NAFTA and the environment that includes a former president of Shell Canada (who has publicly stated her support for the 1.1 million barrel per day Energy East tar sands pipeline), the president of a logging company, an insurance industry executive, and a former Canada-European Union free trade agreement negotiator.

A Government of Canada media release claims, "The council will advise the Minister as Canada looks to strengthen environmental protections in a modernized NAFTA."

September 1, 2017

The Council of Canadians Chilliwack chapter.

The Council of Canadians Chilliwack chapter participated in two WaterWealth Project-organized 'happy hour' gatherings - on April 28 and April 29 - to encourage people to make submissions to the National Energy Board calling for a significant route change for the 890,000 barrel per day Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline.

Chapter activist Suzy Coulter shared promotion for the gatherings on the chapter's email contact list: "Concerned about the proposed location of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline? The route is NOT finalized, and we can let the National Energy Board know that we want the pipeline moved away from Chilliwack's schools, wetlands, fault lines, homes, and drinking water! We have until May 7th to do so."

On May 6, Coulter told us, "The Happy Hours have been a huge success, hundreds of statements of opposition have been sent."