May 14, 2009

As reported by Straight Goods, "More than 400 indigenous people and observers from 80 nations participated in the first ever global discussion on climate change (the UN-affiliated Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change from April 20-24) focusing on native communities."

The article notes, "many indigenous peoples explicitly reject mainstream climate mitigation proposals like carbon offset programs and carbon trading, calling them 'false solutions' that have nothing to do with solving climate change crisis. Such programs continue to allow ever greater amounts of carbon to be emitted, said Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, an NGO based in the US."

Goldtooth says, "It's privatisation of the air. We cannot reconcile this with our strong cosmovision (understanding of the world) and spirituality."

The Anchorage Declaration coming out of the summit calls for a moratorium on new oil and gas drilling on indigenous lands and a phase-out of fossil fuels while respecting the rights of indigenous people to develop their resources.

May 14, 2009

The Canadian Press reports that, "Imposing tariffs (known as border carbon adjustments) on imports from countries that allow greater greenhouse gas emissions than the United States will jeopardize trade and prosperity, Canada's environment minister warned on Wednesday as congressional leaders debate a bill that includes such measures."

Environment Minister Jim Prentice told a Council of Americas conference that, "They would constitute arbitrary discrimination. They won't work and they threaten constructive protectionism in the name of environmental protection would be a prescription for disaster for both the global economy and the global environment. (They amount to) a thinly disguised restriction on trade and an impediment both to wealth creation and to the attainment of our collective objective, which is to address greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce them."

The article continues, "Energy Secretary Stephen Chu suggested this winter that the U.S. wouldn't rule out using tariffs and other trade barriers to pressure other countries, especially India and China, to cut back on emissions."

May 13, 2009

An interesting conference in Montreal with an afternoon session on Trade, Investment and Economic Treaties in Practice...

May 13, 2009

According to an exclusive spread in La Press this month, Quebec's "enhanced" driver's licences can be scanned from 15 metres away and cloned very easily. Ontario's privacy commissioner is also warning this week that the province's new ID cards designed for people who want to cross into the United States without a passport after June 1 are too insecure and open the door to new forms of identity theft and surveillance.

As reported in La Press: "Il est très facile de recopier le numéro dans une autre puce, explique Marek Roy de la firme Sekcore, spécialisée en sécurité informatique. Avec quelques jours de calcul, l'ordinateur sera aussi capable de découvrir les mots de passe pour modifier ou désactiver le numéro du permis.»

May 13, 2009

We'll have updates when we know for sure, but the word now is to expect second reading and debate in the House May 27 to 29, after which the Colombia FTA would go to committee for debate. Letters back from Liberal trade committee members claim they'll pursue the human rights issue there but that they're not willing to defeat Bill C-23 in the House next week. If you haven't contacted your Liberal MP yet, please send them a letter using our action alert.

For updates on this, check out the Canada-Colombia Project website.