Ottawa — As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland prepare to meet with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence in Ottawa this week to promote speedy passage of the new NAFTA, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), the Council of Canadians warns that by fast-tracking the deal the government is recklessly promoting Trump’s agenda and shutting down attempts by Democrats to make significant improvements to the deal.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said that it was “full speed” ahead for Canadian ratification and will table this deal today leading many to speculate that It would be passed before Parliament adjourns this summer.
“Right now, the Democrats have the votes to enact serious, progressive changes to the deal. Instead of listening, the Canadian government is plotting with the Trump administration to shut this debate down. It is appalling that they are doing Trump’s bidding,” said Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “This government and the Conservatives have not seen a free-trade agreement they don’t like, and the new NAFTA is no different.”
To urge the Canadian government to hit pause on ratification, the Council of Canadians has prepared a series of videos and fact sheets about the new NAFTA’s harmful regulatory cooperation and provisions that undermine the public interest, the environment, agriculture, water, pharmaceuticals, and other key issues.
“The new NAFTA is a bit of one step forward, two steps back,” says Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner, “Our members and allies successfully pressured to get rid of chapter 11, the provision that allows corporations to sue governments over policies that infringe on profit-making, and the energy proportionality clause, which mandates quotas of Canadian exports of oil and gas to the U.S.
However, the new NAFTA contains new corporate rights that restrict affordable access to drugs and threaten the survival of Canadian family farms. For corporations, these new rights grant an exclusive backdoor to influence Canada’s health, environment and social safety regulations to further bolster corporate profits. The Democrats have given Canada an opportunity to make the new NAFTA better for people and the planet. We would be foolhardy not to accept this invitation and to pass a half-baked deal that doesn’t have the votes to pass congress.”