May 22, 2017

Common Frontiers program director Raul Burbano.

Our ally Common Frontiers is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to rethink his policy towards Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government.

The Latin American news service Telesur reports, "Canada is one of the main countries spearheading the antagonist campaign against the Chavista government in Venezuela. Amid the ongoing right-wing induced crisis in Venezuela, a coalition of labor groups and activists in Canada have urged the federal government to rethink its policy towards the socialist South American country. ...Slamming Ottawa's policy on Venezuela, [Common Frontiers program director Raul] Burbano said Canada needs to be fair and play an even-handed role in resolving the political impasse in Venezuela."

Burbano says, "I think the government of Canada should make clear its support for the constitutional government, electoral democracy and rule of law in Venezuela, and support mediation by organizations that are neutral."

May 22, 2017

Chapter activist Rick Arnold

The Council of Canadians Northumberland chapter was interviewed on Northumberland 89.7 FM on May 19 about an upcoming gathering in Mexico City of civil society and labour activists that will be strategizing around the imminent renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Chapter activist Rick Arnold highlighted the upcoming 'Trinational Meeting of Social Movements from Canada, Mexico and the United States on NAFTA' that will take place this coming Friday May 26 and Saturday May 27.

Arnold and fellow chapter activist Bev Burke will be at this 'encuentro' in advance of the NAFTA talks that could begin as early as August 16.

May 22, 2017

Mark Eyking, the Liberal MP who chairs the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade, says it would be prudent for the Trudeau government to consider the alternatives if NAFTA were to fall apart.

On May 19, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer wrote to Congress officially triggering the 90-day consultation period required to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

His letter mentions a wide range of issues (but without detail), including digital trade, intellectual property rights, regulatory practices, state-owned enterprises, services, customs procedures, sanitary and phytosanitary measures relating to animal and plant safety, labour, environment and small and medium enterprises.

May 21, 2017

Trade minister Francois-Philippe Champagne at the APEC trade ministers meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam today.

The Trudeau government has committed to pursuing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), amending the text to allow for the deal to be implemented without the United States, allowing other countries to join the now eleven country trade bloc, and completing this work in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit on November 10-11.

Failing that, news reports suggest the Trudeau government is open recycling TPP provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States and Mexico.

Bloomberg quotes Trade minister Francois-Philippe Champagne commenting today that, “Canada’s always been clear: we will look at whatever options would be to the net benefit of Canadians and Canadian workers."

That assertion runs directly contrary to a Tufts University study found that the TPP would cost Canada 58,000 jobs and increase income inequality.

May 21, 2017

Photo of the week: The London chapter took part in the "Reclaiming Mother's Day - An Anti War Community Gathering Event" on May 14.

Council of Canadians chapters take action for social, economic and environmental justice. Here are some of their activities from this past week: