November 21, 2017

Photo of our protest at the start of the 4th round of NAFTA talks in Ottawa, September 2017.

The fifth round of NAFTA talks concluded in Mexico City earlier today. In short, it would appear that no 'progress' was made on any key issues.

This is notable because the three countries have given themselves the extended deadline of March 31, 2018 to reach a deal, with only two more rounds of formal talks left, the penultimate round being January 23-27, 2018 in Montreal.

The Financial Post reports, "The fifth round of talks has largely avoided the most divisive U.S. proposals on dairy, automotive content, dispute panels, government procurement, and a sunset clause."

That news report adds, "Negotiators spent much of their time in the fifth round on rules of origin, which govern how much of a product must be produced in North America to trade without tariffs, though discussions on that centered on mundane details such as paperwork requirements."

November 20, 2017

Today's announcement is just a distraction, in time for Minister Caroline Bennett's participation in a traditional sharing circle with the LLP as well as PM Trudeau's upcoming visit to Labrador to apologize for residential schools, since they were not included in the original apology.

The fact that Trudeau is coming to apologize to the Indigenous people of Labrador while backing the cultural genocide that is Muskrat Falls is irony at it's best. Or, worst.

None of the frontlines' demands can happen if the construction continues.

Following up on his government's announcement earlier this Fall, NL Premier Dwight Ball today announced the terms of reference for the judicial inquiry into the Muskrat Falls hydro project.

VOCM reports "Supreme Court Justice Richard LeBlanc will lead the inquiry which will begin in January and be completed by December 31, 2019."

CBC News reported that the inquiry will include questions such as:

November 20, 2017

Kluscap Wilderness Area

The Mining Association of Nova Scotia wants Liberal premier Stephen McNeil and his provincial government to ease 'Parks and Protected Areas Plan' regulations so it can explore 154 known mineral occurrences that are on protected land on Cape Breton Island.

Yesterday, the Cape Breton Post reported, "One of those potential projects [the Kellys Mountain project] is an aggregate deposit in Victoria County that is completely covered by the Kluscap Wilderness Area."

Kellys Mountain is located about 100 kilometres east of Inverness and about 380 kilometres north of Halifax.

Council of Canadians organizer Robin Tress says, "People fought off a mining company that wanted to make a quarry in the middle of Kluscap/Kellys Mountain 20 years ago and now the mining industry is trying again."

The Waycobah First Nation know Kellys Mountain as Kluscap Mountain and oppose exploration in this area that is sacred to the Mi’kmaq people.

November 20, 2017
The Nebraska Public Service Commission today rejected TransCanada's preferred route for the Keystone XL pipeline in a vote five to zero.
Instead, they granted a conditional approval along a different, new route the company had previously claimed would be unworkable. As reported by the Sierra Club, it would allow the pipeline to be partly built along an existing Keystone 1 route, rather than entirely along its preferred route. 
The approved route still crosses the Ogallala aquifer and Treaty lands.
This raises new questions and hurdles for the fraught project. For example, there are landowners along the new route that have yet to be approached or consulted about the the project. This creates new opportunities for further challenging the project, including through legal means.                                      
November 20, 2017

The fifth round of NAFTA talks are happening now (Nov. 18-22) in Mexico City.

On November 18, Reuters reported, "Officials [from Canada, the United States and Mexico] have so far discussed other issues such as labor, gender, intellectual property, energy and telecommunications but it is too soon to say whether there will be any breakthroughs this round, added a source familiar with the talks."

iPolitics adds, "The Trump administration on Friday [Nov. 18] issued revised NAFTA negotiating objectives, largely to reflect demands that it has already made in the talks. These include new language in line with proposals to radically change dispute settlement systems, eliminate Canadian dairy tariffs and allow U.S. protections for seasonal produce growers hurt by Mexican imports."