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From NAFTA 1.0 to NAFTA 2.0, Council of Canadians’ Maude Barlow outlines a NAFTA renegotiation agenda for the rest of us

OTTAWA — NAFTA renegotiations continue today in Arlington, Virginia. To shed light on the issues, the Council of Canadians today released Getting It Right: A People’s Guide to NAFTA, by Maude Barlow, its honorary chairperson and veteran NAFTA critic.  It explains in plain language what’s at stake in the deal for our jobs, our environment, and our democracies.

“The Council of Canadians vigorously opposed NAFTA and its predecessor, the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, when they were being negotiated, and we have monitored these agreements and their fallout closely since. Our opinion of NAFTA has not changed, quite the opposite, and we document why here,” she writes.

In her report, Barlow evaluates the agreement signed 23 years ago, assesses the proposals on the table from Canada and the U.S., and recommends a path forward for those who want to protect water, jobs, the environment and democracy.  In particular, she unpacks the Canadian government's "progressive" trade agenda.

“Progressive voices in Canada that have been highly critical of NAFTA as a tool for corporate interests find ourselves somewhat caught. Labour, environmental, indigenous and social justice groups obviously do not side with the ‘Make America Great Again’ nationalism of the Trump administration,” she says, “At the same time, we are deeply critical of the pro-free trade policies of the Trudeau government and are highly doubtful that it is going to achieve any meaningful results from the renegotiation process unless NAFTA is profoundly changed.”

Barlow says the fundamental NAFTA issues that affect us all have been sorely lacking in public debate.

“There is an overload of information circulating on NAFTA renegotiation—on the moods and whims of Trump, the various negotiating strategies, to the different needs of corporate industries in the deal.  Very little of it, though, focuses on how the rest of us are impacted.  This is a major oversight that I have attempted to correct,” explained Barlow.

The report is available online here.

For more information on the NAFTA campaign: canadians.org/nafta.



Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner, sdey@canadians.org, (613) 796-7724