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Left out of the NAFTA talks, civil society hosts a multinational meeting Friday

Planet Before Profit Rally Sign

Ottawa, September 20, 2017 – With the approach of NAFTA’s third round of negotiations, civil society groups are disturbed by the absence of any stakeholder round in the NAFTA talks. In response, they will be holding their own multinational meeting on Friday in Ottawa that will include prominent civil society activists and politicians from all three countries involved. “Once again, corporations and profit are the centre of the discussion, before the commons, the people and the planet,” participants said in a joint statement.

“The Canadian Government says it aims to negotiate a progressive trade agreement. But for that to be true, there has to be genuine engagement with civil society. Unless NAFTA’s Chapter 11 provisions are eliminated and any new agreement establishes binding norms that guarantee the preeminence of human, political, economic, labour, social, cultural and environmental rights, there cannot be a progressive trade agreement.”

Participants and politicians from Mexico, the United States and Canada, including leading Canadian, Québécois and Indigenous figures, will hold events in Ottawa on the Friday before the talks. Following principles discussed last May at a tri-national civil society meeting in Mexico, they will deliver a joint declaration on Parliament Hill at 10:30 a.m. and there will be a photo op for media. The civil society groups will then hold a public discussion forum from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Huguette Labelle Hall, Room 112 of Tabaret Hall at the University of Ottawa.

A panel with legislators will include:

  • Mario Delgado Carrillo, Mexican Senator
  • Tracey Ramsey, Canadian Member of Parliament and NDP trade critic
  • Martine Ouellet, Bloc Québécois leader
  • Amir Khadir, Member of the Québec National Assembly

Civil society speakers will include:

  • Pamela Palmater, Mi’kmaw citizen, lawyer, professor and Indigenous rights activist
  • Pedro Torres, President of Mexican agricultural group, ANEC
  • Melinda St. Louis, Director of International Campaigns, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

The event is being organized by a broad coalition including Common Frontiers, the Council of Canadians, Réseau québécois sur l’intégration continentale and the Trade Justice Network.


For information, please contact:

Raul Burbano, 416-522-8615 Common Frontiers: 416-522-8615 burbano@rogers.com

Ronald Cameron, Réseau québécois sur l’intégration continentale: 514-217-0264 rqic@ciso.qc.ca

Sujata Dey, Council of Canadians: 613 796-7724 sdey@canadians.org

Nadia Ibrahim, Trade Justice Network: 204-803-8133 nadia.k.ibrahim@gmail.com

See Schedule »
Civil Society Summit: Does NAFTA Serve the Public Interest?
Friday, September 22, 2017

Photo by Greenpeace, retrieved from Common Dreams