The purpose of trade agreements has fundamentally changed since the post-war Bretton Woods international institutions were established to rebuild a shattered world economy and promote international economic cooperation.
Maude Barlow's blog
An open letter from over one hundred artists, activists, scholars, and writers. We — activists, scholars, writers and artists — strongly condemn President Trump’s efforts to vilify, intimidate, and use force against refugees and asylum seekers at and approaching the U.S. border.
I am writing this to urge you to read a new book called Corporatizing Canada: Making Business out of Public Service, edited by Jamie Brownlee, Chris Hurl and Kevin Walby and published by Between the Lines.
The book contains 16 chapters on many aspects of this important and dangerous development written by the top experts in the field in Canada. While they are all excellent, I must give a personal shout out to one in particular. Emma Lui, the Council of Canadians’ national water campaigner, writes a powerful chapter on the danger of governments running water services as if they are a business.
Many of us have fought privatization for years, understanding it to be a vital component of the neo-liberal economic globalization experiment that has failed so many so badly. But we have paid less attention to a parallel threat that has been building in our public institutions. Corporatization is the practice of using a market model to run public agencies, utilities, regulatory bodies and public services. Originally it was introduced to set up a buffer to protect public servants from political interference when governments of different political stripes gained office. But today's corporatization is a way for public institutions and services to act at arms-length from the public they serve and where the needs of the public become subordinate to the economic bottom line. Public services become commodities to be bought and sold and service users are treated more as customers than citizens. Corporatized services are less accountable, less transparent and less democratic than true public services.
Last week, legal expert David Schneiderman brilliantly argued in the Globe and Mail that rather than consulting with Canadians over the practice of including investor-state clauses that allow foreign investors to challenge government laws and regulations in trade agreements, Canada should drop them all together. He correctly pointed out that the Trudeau government appears wedded to the concept of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in deals that Canada signs. He noted that ISDS is contained in both the recent deals with Europe (CETA) and Asia Pacific (CPTPP) and also in a number of bilateral agreements.
Investor-state dispute settlement was tempered in the USMCA, but the government needs to justify why it persists asking for it in other agreements.
Blog written by Maude Barlow and Sujata Dey posted in the Huffington Post, October 19, 2018.
The current Liberal government recently had a road to Damascus moment. After defending Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions (ISDS) around the world, suddenly Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said she championed the elimination of Chapter 11 between Canada and the U.S. in the new USMCA.
Canadian and American negotiators came to agreement on a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), or NAFTA 2.0.
This week, the Maritimes Energy Association will host its Core energy conference on Canada’s East Coast energy future. Unfortunately, far too much of the conference will focus on the energy of the past.
I want to tell you about the incredible fall coming up for me and my work with the Council.
This week, I am in Quito, Ecuador. It is the 10th anniversary of the Global Alliance on the Rights of Nature. I am on the executive committee. The symposium will be followed by a round-table of about 35 invited participants to plan next steps in our movement.
This issue, the rights of nature or Mother Earth, is being raised more and more by Indigenous allies here in Canada and by many of our chapter members and I am keen for us to address it more.
There is no place on earth quite like Nova Scotia. I lived here as a young child and spent many summers exploring its natural wonders, so you can say I’m a bit biased.
The president has essentially given Canada an ultimatum: accept a bad deal with destructive effects on dairy, on our terms, or else. Trump's magic is in making us believe we have no choice.
But we do.