Ottawa – As NAFTA talks start today in Washington D.C. and negotiators work out positions on the Chapter 11 Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms, the Council of Canadians reminds the government that 10,630 people have already sent letters asking for the elimination of Chapter 11. Over the summer, they wrote to Global Affairs and Prime Minister Trudeau through the Council’s website.
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.
This week, there were two competing narratives on free trade. While (astonishingly!) both the IMF and The Economist said there are problems with free trade, others asserted that free trade is under attack by "populists." Some have determined that the electorate is under the influence of scaremongers and must be re-educated to rid them of their fearful, misinformed views. You may be a "populist." Find out if you are one.
Once know as the bustling industrial heartland of Niagara, “where rails and water meet”, Welland has now become the city that free trade left behind, according to Fiona McMurran Niagara chapter activist. She takes us on a virtual tour of her region, and illustrates the devastating damage free trade caused to her region's manufacturing sector.
NAFTA is a dirty word, especially on the Digby Neck in Nova Scotia. Back in 2007, people in Sandy Cove won a years-long fight to stop a quarry from being built in their backyards. Now a NAFTA tribunal is trying to get Canada to pay up for enforcing its own laws.
For Canadians, the American presidential primaries always promise great entertainment value. They’re showy, strewn with flags and red, white and blue balloons flooding the convention floors. They’re full of one-liners and zingers, and full-frontal combat.
And this year, there is a surprising turn in the election. The TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the mega-agreement with 40 per cent of the world’s economy, is turning many voters sour. It, and NAFTA before it, evoke an allergy to free trade agreements in general.
Many of the frontrunners have come out against the TPP. Ten of the original presidential candidates, both Republican and Democrat, have opposed it. Hillary Clinton has rallied against an undemocratic deal. Bernie Sanders has made it a rallying cry.
It may seem incredible that a trade deal would give companies a right to profit. Incredible, but true. And the Harper government is about to give these same "rights" to European companies.
When Canada was negotiating the Free Trade Agreement with the United States in 1987 (CUSFTA), one of the final sticking points was Canada’s insistence on having an exemption for cultural industries. Canada won that battle and (mostly) preserved the right of Canadian governments to develop and implement a range of cultural policy measures. We have content quotas, financial subsidies, public cultural agencies, investment measures prohibiting non-Canadian ownership of certain firms, requirements for broadcasters (which became profitable behind CRTC protections) to contribute financially to Canadian content production, and many others. The purpose of our policies is not to be exclusionary. We remain the most open market in the world for cultural works from abroad. Rather, they seek to ensure our storytellers have the capacity and opportunity to bring high quality works to the market and to ensure audiences, in Canada and abroad, have access to these works.
The Canadian Press reports that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is interested in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.
At a B.C. Chamber of Commerce gathering, Harper commented, "If we can deepen it in areas like labour mobility, access of professional services and government procurement, these are big areas where – if we could open up NAFTA and expand its application – it would be very good for Canadian and American business."
The news report notes, "Harper said the more modern agreements, in particular the South Korean deal and another signed with the European Union last year, are more comprehensive. The agreements cover investment, government procurement, intellectual property, labour mobility and a host of other issues beyond tariffs, he said."