April 27, 2009

The Toronto Star reports that, “A cross-border garbage war is brewing over an ambitious Ontario effort to recycle 12 million used tires and kick-start the creation of green jobs. The Ontario Used Tire Program might help save the planet, but American business owners and New York state legislators argue the province's plan unfairly subsidizes Canadian-based firms, could cost ‘hundreds’ of American jobs and compromise the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

April 27, 2009

Although a government or two may fall in the fourteen months between now and then, the G8 summit on June 25-27, 2010 is expected to see Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcome US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, which is located 200 kilometres north of Toronto.

Stephen Harper has already said, "As hosts, our government will have considerable say over the agenda. It will be a tremendous opportunity to promote Canada’s values and interests; to advocate for open markets and trade opportunities; to assist on global action against global warming; and to champion values like freedom, democracy and human rights and the rule of law."

The Council of Canadians has started to explore ways to have the concerns we share with millions around the world heard at this summit.

April 26, 2009

Andrew Willis Garcés of the International Peace Observatory in Colombia recently wrote that, "Led by Ecofondo and the Committee to Support the Referendum, a coalition of labor unions, environmentalists, consumer organizations, indigenous groups and student unions have been organizing since 2007 to win an official referendum to add the human right to water to those guaranteed by Colombia’s constitution."

CUPE has also noted that, "The alliance is alarmed by dramatic increase in water prices across the country since cost-recovery tariffs and privatization were introduced. Bogotá, Colombia now has the highest water rates in South America."

Willis Garcés highlights that, "In September of 2008, organizers submitted two million signatures in support of the effort; well more than the 5% of the population needed to put the issue on the ballot. The measure was submitted before Congress on March 16, 2009..The first days of debate failed to yield agreement in Congress. Interior Minister Fabio Valencia Cossio said the Uribe government opposes the referendum, because it is 'unclear' and 'inconvenient'."

April 25, 2009

Reuters reports that, "California's new low-carbon fuel rules may be a violation of NAFTA and World Trade Organization provisions because they would unfairly limit exports of crude from Canada's oil sands to the state, a prominent Canadian trade lawyer said on Friday."

"California adopted a first-ever rule on Thursday requiring refineries, producers and importers of motor fuels sold in the state to reduce the "carbon intensity" of their products by 10 percent by 2020, with greater cuts thereafter. The measures to slash such emissions would force refiners to consider the carbon footprint of the fuels they produce, a potential blow to synthetic crude upgraded from Alberta's oil sands, whose production emits more carbon-dioxide than conventional oil. However, the state may have no business imposing such rules on oil produced in other countries, a Canadian lawyer said, and the provisions may violate international trade treaties."

April 25, 2009

Along with the Council of Canadians action alert demanding that Abousfian Abdelrazik be allowed to return to Canada at, please see below an urgent action alert from the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG). As you may know, the Council of Canadians is a member of the ICLMG.


As part of the ongoing efforts by many persons and organizations to pressure the government to bring Abousfian Abdelrazik home, Paul Dewar, MP for Ottawa Centre, plans to present on Monday, April 27 the following motion to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs in Ottawa::

"That Abousfian Abdelrazik be asked to appear before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs".

The passage of this motion will not commit the government to bringing Abousfian to Ottawa; however, it will exert yet more pressure on the government to reverse its position and to bring him home.