Ottawa – An ad highlighting the Council of Canadians’ top three priorities for NAFTA’s negotiation will begin a four-day run on CBC’s The National tonight, coinciding with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland promoting Canada’s NAFTA negotiating plans today before the House of Commons Committee on International Trade.
“The Liberal government needs to go back to the drawing board on its NAFTA position. Unless a renegotiated NAFTA contains real penalties, and sets standards, these talks may just replicate the dangerous provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” says Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and veteran NAFTA critic. “If Trudeau’s government is truly concerned about the environment, labour and public protection, it should look at the glaring problem: Chapter 11, which has made Canada vulnerable to billions of dollars of corporate lawsuits over our environmental and public policy decisions. Trudeau should be fixing NAFTA’s existing problems, instead of creating new ones.”
The Council of Canadians argues that major changes are needed to protect people and the environment in NAFTA. As the Council has cautioned before, modelling NAFTA’s Chapter 11 on the investor state system of CETA (the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) doesn’t alter the substance of this problematic provision.
“It is very dangerous that the Liberal government is going to put CETA procurement provisions in NAFTA, which will get rid of buy local policies,” says Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “Instead, Trudeau should be mirroring Buy American policies so that public money stays in the local economy. We also encourage the government to hold the line on in keeping NAFTA’s cultural exemption and our supply management program.”
The Council of Canadians’ priorities for NAFTA are:
- Eliminate Chapter 11, the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process, from NAFTA. ISDS provisions allow corporations to sue governments for policies or regulations that restrict corporate profits. Corporations have used these provisions to challenge laws that protect people’s health and the environment.
- Remove all references from NAFTA to water as a good, service or investment. Canada is vulnerable to bulk water exports and increased privatization under the deal. President Trump could see Canadian water as a way to hydrate drought-ridden U.S. states.
- Eliminate NAFTA’s energy proportionality rule. This rule requires Canada to export a locked-in percentage of our energy production to the U.S. This forces continued production in the tar sands, which will stop Canada from meeting its climate commitments.
The Council’s campaign includes handimations in English, French and Spanish like the one airing on The National, fact sheets, and reports which encourage citizens to do their own lobbying on NAFTA.
For more information on the campaign, please see: canadians.org/nafta.