April 9, 2009

Please see Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew’s ‘ACTION ALERT: Tell your MP ‘vote no to the Canada-Colombia FTA’ at

Time is of the essence, so please act now.

April 9, 2009

As you may remember, David Emerson was the Minister of Industry in the Paul Martin government, and the Minister of International Trade then Minister of Foreign Affairs under Stephen Harper, before leaving federal politics in September 2008.

The Calgary Herald reports that, “David Emerson, in his first wide-ranging interview since retiring from politics, says…’There was a real kind of noticeable impression out there in the world community that Canada is not as visible as we used to be, and should be,’ he told Canwest News Service in an interview. Emerson said Canada's visibility problems existed under previous Liberal governments and are possibly linked to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, which he said made Canada ‘U.S.-centric.’”

April 9, 2009

The CBC's Henry Champ reports from Washington that, "There are clear signs now that the American public has had enough with their two-tier health-care system. Skyrocketing costs for private insurance are part of it. But another huge factor is the roughly 600,000 job losses in each of the last few months."

In the United States, the "debate is being driven by an angry, voting public, not by the health industry with its selective statistics. Barack Obama's election promises to reform health care as well as the deteriorating economy mixed with a Democratic House and Senate all came together and the dynamic (that has stopped previous efforts at health care reform has) changed."

President Obama's first budget "contained some predictable losses as budget cutters chopped away at the fat and partisan targets. But the allocation to pump-prime a national health insurance plan was left untouched. That alone makes it almost a certainty that by the end of this year, every American will have access to some kind of health insurance."

April 9, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports today that, "Ottawa could be forced to drop its controversial intensity-based approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid having to pay U.S. border duties, Environment Minister Jim Prentice says."

"Under last week's bill, introduced by California Representative Henry Waxman and Ed Markey of Massachusetts (to the House of Representatives), the U.S. government would target energy-intensive industries, including steel, aluminum, cement, glass, pulp and paper and chemicals. Where domestic industries lose market share to importers due to an unfair environmental advantage, those foreign companies would have to purchase 'emissions allowances' to equalize the burden."

(In other words, US tariffs or border duties could be imposed on Canadian exports to the US if Canada's carbon-emission policies were considered weak.)

April 8, 2009

Martin Mittelstaedt recently wrote in the Globe and Mail about a number of NAFTA Chapter 11 cases. He writes, “claims that environmental rules are tantamount to expropriation are the single largest source of complaints under the provision, amounting to about 40 per cent of the 24 cases filed against Ottawa…Four cases based on environment-related rules were filed last year, the highest annual total since the trade pact began in 1994.”

He lists “NAFTA challenges to Canadian environmental regulations” as:

1. Ethyl Corp. over a gasoline additive. The dispute, begun in 1997, settled for about $13-million (U.S.).

2. S.D. Myers Inc. challenges a temporary ban on exports of PCBs. The dispute, begun in 1998, settled for $5-million.