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June 15, 2018

Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership in Santiago, Chile on March 8, 2018.

The Trudeau government has introduced Bill C-79, legislation to implement the so-called 'comprehensive and progressive' Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Maude Barlow says, "It may be rebranded, but it’s the same deal which an overwhelming majority – almost all Canadians consulted – said they opposed.”

NDP trade critic Tracey Ramsey highlights, "There is no gender chapter, there is no consent from the Aboriginal people in Canada. The labour provisions themselves have been called toothless, they've been called weak. The agreement doesn't even use the word 'climate change' – that's how environmentally weak it is."

And Unifor president Jerry Dias comments, "The risks and uncertainty that CPTPP rules pose for auto, dairy, culture and other major industries, along with an entrenched investor-state dispute system, far outweigh any stated benefit."

June 14, 2018

A new Italian coalition government was formed under Giuseppe Conte on June 1 following months of negotiations after the March 4 election.

The Five Star Movement-League coalition is considered to have a thin majority (347 seats in the 630 seat legislature), but it is also supported by the far-right Brothers of Italy party (which has 32 seats).

Reuters now reports, "Italy will not ratify the European Union's free trade agreement with Canada... Agriculture Minister Gian Marco Centinaio said the Italian government would ask the parliament not to ratify the treaty since it does not ensure sufficient protection for the country's specialty foods."

The article highlights the significance of this when it notes, "All 28 EU member states must approve the agreement for it to take full effect."

June 13, 2018
Flint is still dealing with the lead poisoning of residents’ drinking water. Residents of Detroit are once again experiencing water shutoffs. Ontario has the highest number of Drinking Water Advisories in First Nations out of all the provinces in Canada. All the while Nestlé is allowed to pump millions of litres of water from Ontario and Michigan every day to bottle and sell for profit. 
 
I went to Detroit this past weekend to meet with the Water Is Life coalition to talk about these and other water justice issues around the Great Lakes. Nearly 20 organizations gathered over two days to develop strategies to prevent the privatization and commodification of water, ensure affordable access to drinking water and sanitation, uphold Indigenous rights to water, protect the Great Lakes and implement the UN-recognized human rights to water and sanitation. 
 
June 13, 2018

What should the Trudeau government do next in the escalating trade war with the Trump administration over NAFTA?

The Trump administration -- opposed to Canada's supply management system (viewed by it as a 270 per cent tariff on its milk exports) and wanting a 'sunset clause' (that would automatically kill the deal unless all three countries agreed to renew it every five years) - has imposed a 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminum tariff exports from Canada into the United States.

The Trudeau government has pledged to hit back with $16.6 billion of tariffs on steel, aluminum and other products, including maple syrup, beer kegs and whiskies, soup, boats, toilet paper, and playing cards starting on July 1.

June 12, 2018

 

I was invited to speak on behalf of the Council of Canadians at the Niigaani-gichigami Gratitude Walk on June 8th. The event included a Water Ceremony, prayers of gratitude and for the health of Niigaani-gichigami/Lake Ontario and all the waterways connected to it, a prayer walk led by drummers, and finally a festival and barbecue in celebration of water and community.

While unforseen circumstances unfortunately prevented me from speaking at the event, I am sharing here what I had planned to say: 

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