April 21, 2017

The Globe and Mail reports, "Most Canadians are giving the Liberal government’s second budget a thumbs down, according to a new survey for The Globe and Mail by Nanos Research. The survey found a slight majority of Canadians have a negative or somewhat negative view of the recent federal budget. When asked for their views on the budget, 22 per cent said negative and 30 per cent said somewhat negative. Only 5 per cent of Canadians said they had a positive view, while 33 per cent said their opinion was somewhat positive. Eleven per cent of Canadians said they were unsure."

On the evening of March 22, the day the federal budget was tabled, we posted this critical commentary about it.

1- Water
Budget 2017 - "Over the last year, the Government has lifted 18 long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations communities, and is on track to eliminate all remaining advisories by March 2021."

April 21, 2017

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow will be speaking at the 'Untrouble the Waters' summit at the University of Illinois on May 10-11.

As noted in the promotion for the summit, "Various concerns impacting the Great Lakes region will be the focus when government officials, researchers and community leaders from the U.S. and Canada convene at 'Untrouble the Waters', a summit organized by The Freshwater Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Panels and working groups will address critical issues impacting the Great Lakes region, such as lead poisoning, oil pipelines, budget cuts, clean water access and environmental protection. Speakers include Maude Barlow, national chairperson for the Council of Canadians."

The Council of Canadians has identified numerous threats to the Great Lakes including:

April 20, 2017

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow speaks to a rally during our annual conference in St. John's, October 2016.

Eighteen Council of Canadians chapters had a one-hour telephone conference call this evening to discuss the best ways to move forward on the resolutions passed at our annual conference in St. John's last year.

The twelve resolutions that were passed cover a wide variety of concerns including support for frontline work in rural areas, funding for small and rural chapters, creating a youth section, organizing climate protests, challenging militarism, ending homelessness, and reforming offshore petroleum boards.

The chapters agreed that the first three resolutions - which related to prioritizing support for frontline work in rural areas, corporate capture, and funding policies - should have follow-up calls to discuss those matters in detail and that those meetings could be scheduled by means of a doodle poll circulated on the chapter list-serve.

April 20, 2017

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

A second round of exploratory talks on a proposed Canada-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will be happening in Ottawa this coming April 24-28.

The Globe and Mail reports, "Next Monday, Chinese and Canadian negotiators will sit down for five days in Ottawa for a second round of exploratory trade discussions. The first set of talks was held in Beijing in February."

In advance of those talks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had an hour-long telephone conversation with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports, "Trudeau expressed great importance to developing friendly cooperation with China... The initiation of Canada-China Economic and Financial Strategic Dialogue and the smooth advancement of the FTA exploratory discussions mark that bilateral cooperation is developing on the right track. Canada stands ready to, together with China, expand bilateral trade and investment exchanges..."

April 19, 2017

US President Donald Trump has vowed to eliminate Canada's "very unfair" dairy supply-management system.

In a speech in the dairy state of Wisconsin, Trump stated, “NAFTA has been very, very bad for our country. It’s been very, very bad for our companies and for our workers and we’re going to make some very big changes. Or we’re going to get rid of NAFTA for once and for all. We cannot continue like this, believe me.”

While it has been widely reported that Canada's ambassador to the US David MacNaughton says, “Canada does not accept the contention that Canada’s dairy policies are the cause of financial loss for dairy farmers in the United States," that does not mean that supply management isn't vulnerable during the upcoming NAFTA negotiations.

Along with the threat from the Trump administration, supply management also faces numerous opponents within Canada, some of whom have close ties or direct access to the Liberal government.