January 23, 2018

Trudeau announces the CPTPP at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland today.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in Davos today that a 'Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)', had been been finalized after two days of talks in Tokyo, Japan.

The Council of Canadians decries the lack of public accountability in the negotiation of this deal, the potential impacts this agreement will have on jobs, our supply management system and the automobile sector, as well as the deal's weak language on environmental and labour protections.

Given the text of the agreement and its side letters have not been released, what can we glean from media reports?

January 23, 2018

The Trudeau Liberals may choose to 'opt in' to NAFTA's Chapter 11, the controversial investor-state dispute settlement provision.

The Toronto Star reports, "When it comes to the mechanism in chapter 11—which allows investors to sue when they feel they’ve been unfairly treated by a foreign government regulation or policy action – Ottawa says it is open to improving the chapter, to establishing standalone, professionally trained panels of trade judges to assess claims. However the Canadian sources said while Canada wants to strengthen the system, the U.S. demand that it be an 'opt-in' system, which would give domestic courts the power to rule if a country did not opt in, would weaken it."

The article highlights, "'They’d expect the U.S. would opt out but Canada and Mexico would opt in', said one official."

The Council of Canadians has opposed the Chapter 11 provision for 24+ years, but both Liberal and Conservative governments have defended it.

January 23, 2018

On the first day of the 4th round of NAFTA talks in October 2017, petitions from The Council of Canadians and numerous allies calling for an end to Chapter 11 were presented on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

What "middle ground" is the Trudeau government seeking to be able to maintain the Chapter 11 investor-state dispute settlement provision in NAFTA?

The Globe and Mail reports that the Trudeau government "is hoping to hammer out a compromise with the United States and Mexico on a key provision that allows corporations to sue governments in front of special tribunals" during the 6th round of NAFTA talks taking place in Montreal this week.

January 22, 2018

Excerpt of letter from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. The paragraph it refers to states: 21 (1) The head of a government institution may refuse to disclose any record requested under this Act that contains (c) positions or plans developed for the purpose of negotiations carried on or to be carried on by or on behalf of the Government of Canada and considerations relating thereto...

The Council of Canadians - and by extension Indigenous peoples as well as the broader public - has been denied access to a proposed chapter for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In November 2017, Global News reported, "Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Tuesday [November 21] that Canada has tabled their proposed Indigenous rights chapter in the ongoing NAFTA renegotiation talks." Yesterday, the Canadian Press reported, "[Freeland] said the Indigenous chapter would be discussed for the first time in Montreal [during the 6th round of talks]."

January 22, 2018

Photo caption: Activists in Toronto protest the murder of 16 year old anti-mining organizer Topacio Reynoso Pacheco. She led youth in her community in opposing Canadian company Tahoe Resource's silver mine in Guatemala. 

This week, François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, announced the creation of a new human rights ombudsperson who will investigate allegations of abuse abroad concerning Canadian corporations. Champagne explained that the new watchdog, named the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE), will be empowered to independently investigate complaints of human rights abuse at the hands of Canadian companies, to make public recommendations for remedies, and to monitor the implementation of those recommendations.