Analysis of CETA

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Brachina
Analysis of CETA

http://m.thestar.com/#!/news/canada-european-union-sign-sweeping-trade-p...

 

 Compensation to the provinces for extra drug costs and dairy farmers would medigate some of the damages of the treaty, so I'm more worried about the violation of provincial juristion.

 

 What are they talking about when it comes to procurement thresholds, I don't get that, if anyone has more details I'd be greatful.

Brachina

Arrrggg it double posted my thread again.

mmphosis

">http://www.canadians.org/node/3428]

CETA poses a grave threat to Canada’s social programs and public services because, for the first time, the provinces are at the table negotiating away their own rights and those of their municipalities. CETA allows corporations to bid on all “sub-national procurement,” that is, all the ways in which provincial and municipal levels of governments spend our tax revenues. Access to these levels of government contracts was not available in previous trade deals and represents the mother lode for foreign companies, anywhere from $100 billion to $200 billion a year.

European corporations want to sell Canadians the services we now receive publicly, services such as health care, education, water and mail delivery, and CETA will give these private companies the right to bid on government tenders for goods and services including schools, hospitals, airports, public transit, ports, and hydro projects to name just a few. Any rules or practices that favour local economic development, support local food production or promote local or Canadian goods and services will be challenged as unfair barriers to trade. As well, these corporations will have the right to challenge any local laws that promote fair trade or reflect the environmental concerns of the community, such as bottled water bans.

 

Brachina

Signing and ratification by the Czech Republic are required for CETA to come into effect.[13] Czech Republic declared it won't do either until the visa requirements for Czech citizens by Canada are lifted.[14][15]

 

 Got that off wikipedia.

North Star

NDP Statement on CETA from Don Davies:

http://www.ndp.ca/news/statement-ndp-trade-critic-don-davies-proposed-ca...

Liberal Statement on CETA from le Dauphin:

http://www.liberal.ca/newsroom/news-release/statement-liberal-party-cana...

Green Party statement on CETA from Elizabeth May:

http://www.greenparty.ca/media-release/2013-10-18/green-party-opposes-an...

One of these things is not like the others...

 

Brachina

Both the NDP and Greens support increased trade, but have reservations about how this will effect stuff like dairy farmers, precurement and so on.

Trudeau supports it and doesn't seem to question it in the slightest.

I still say CETA can be constitutionally challenged by a future Provincial governemnt because it violates provincial federal judistictions when it comes to precurement.

And of course if the Czech republic or any other nation or province decides it doesn't support the deal its deal. I just have a feeling it won't survive.

Aristotleded24

Brachina wrote:
Both the NDP and Greens support increased trade, but have reservations about how this will effect stuff like dairy farmers, precurement and so on. Trudeau supports it and doesn't seem to question it in the slightest. I still say CETA can be constitutionally challenged by a future Provincial governemnt because it violates provincial federal judistictions when it comes to precurement. And of course if the Czech republic or any other nation or province decides it doesn't support the deal its deal. I just have a feeling it won't survive.

NAFTA is also unconstitutional and the provinces have said nothing about it.

Centrist

Posted my comment in another thread but I also believe that it is food for comment here...

I still have never understood why, but Quebec was probably the strongest proponent for NAFTA back in 1988. And today we are also apparently seeing a replay of same:

 

Quote:

Still, the Parti Québécois has long been an ardent free-trade apostle and on Friday it reiterated its support for the deal. This is a rare issue on which the sovereigntist establishment, the main opposition parties in the national assembly and corporate Quebec see eye to eye.

 

But the 1988 NDP could afford to ignore Quebec’s strong pro-trade current. Today the province has become central to its fortunes. Taking on the bulk of its influential chattering class over CETA is not a proposition to be entertained lightly.

 

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/10/18/canadaeu_trade_agreement_secures_stephen_harpers_legacy_tosses_ndp_a_hot_potato_hbert.html

Lens Solution

Seems like all the federal parties are supporting it, and if even the PQ Government is supporting it in Quebec, it doesn't look like there's going to be much of any opposition to it anywhere in Canada.

I guess the key ideological and existential question facing the NDP is whether there's a danger in becoming too much like the Liberals and the Conservatives if the party moves to the 'center'.

North Star

Apologies for the double post.

 

North Star

Brachina wrote:
Both the NDP and Greens support increased trade, but have reservations about how this will effect stuff like dairy farmers, precurement and so on. Trudeau supports it and doesn't seem to question it in the slightest. I still say CETA can be constitutionally challenged by a future Provincial governemnt because it violates provincial federal judistictions when it comes to precurement. And of course if the Czech republic or any other nation or province decides it doesn't support the deal its deal. I just have a feeling it won't survive.

 

The NDP's new support for free trade has been all over the place. It opposed some agreements, and then it says it wants to back agreements with democratic governments in developed nations but then supports free trade with Jordan. Also the NDP says the EU has strong regulations and labours rights which is true to an extent but continent wide austerity has been eroding the gains of European workers. It's a very confused approach, as is the norm when the NDP tries to position itself as "responsible."

 

kropotkin1951

I can't tell the difference between Don's statement and the Liberal one. What a sad, sad day for democracy in Canada. Tell the people of Greece and Spain that the EU is a great democracy with super workers rights. They have been yoked into a harness by the German and UK bankers and are seeing all their social programs destroyed.  But we should trust them becuase they are not those evil Chinese.

Don't worry that our local governments are going to lose their ability to run sustainable green local economies because maybe the Czechs or someone else will save us.

Don't forget that under the NAFTA favoured nation clause what Europe gets so does the US.

 

ygtbk
ygtbk
josh

North Star wrote:

NDP Statement on CETA from Don Davies:

http://www.ndp.ca/news/statement-ndp-trade-critic-don-davies-proposed-ca...

Liberal Statement on CETA from le Dauphin:

http://www.liberal.ca/newsroom/news-release/statement-liberal-party-cana...

Green Party statement on CETA from Elizabeth May:

http://www.greenparty.ca/media-release/2013-10-18/green-party-opposes-an...

One of these things is not like the others...

 

Yeah, only the Green statement cleary attack the anti-democratic aspects of the deal.

janfromthebruce

We know that there are advantages and compromises in every negotiation. New Democrats will continue to take the responsible approach – we will wait until the full text is released, analyze its contents and engage in wide consultations with a diverse range of stakeholders – including business, labour, local and provincial governments, Aboriginal peoples, and others –to determine if the deal is, on balance, a good deal for Canada.

I see they haven't said they support it or not but believe the devil is in the details. I was not a supporter of NAFTA as it gave an advantage to corporations and end game, prevented public auto insurance in Ontario at the time - getting sued.

But I too would like to see the details.

josh

Typical media cheerleading for these agreements. A wall of silence over the real agenda. No mention of the anti-democratic aspects. Downplaying the threat to national and provincial control. An agreement by and for the 1%.
With cheaper wine and cheese thrown to those of the 99% who consume and imbibe.

ygtbk

josh wrote:
Typical media cheerleading for these agreements. A wall of silence over the real agenda. No mention of the anti-democratic aspects. Downplaying the threat to national and provincial control. An agreement by and for the 1%. With cheaper wine and cheese thrown to those of the 99% who consume and imbibe.

Yup. CBC, well-known right-wing website.

josh

Typically you miss the point. The entire media, from right to moderate left (since there is no
mass left media to speak of), generally back these agreements. And accept the BS neo-liberal economic line uncritically. It was that way with the FTA, with NAFTA, and now CETA. Same in the U.S. Don't forget that it was a Democratic administration and congress that pushed through NAFTA.

ygtbk

josh wrote:
Typically you miss the point. The entire media, from right to moderate left (since there is no mass left media to speak of), generally back these agreements. And accept the BS neo-liberal economic line uncritically. It was that way with the FTA, with NAFTA, and now CETA. Same in the U.S. Don't forget that it was a Democratic administration and congress that pushed through NAFTA.

Thanks, Josh. You are obviously a keen observer of Canadian media. Enjoy TTIP:

http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ttip/

North Star

Thomas Walkom has a great article in The Star about CETA:

Quote:

First, as with all modern trade agreements, this one is not really about trade. Yes, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement does remove tariffs on most goods traded between Canada and the European Union. But, with key exceptions — particularly in agriculture — most of those tariffs were low to begin with.

Rather, CETA — like the North American Free Trade Agreement before it — is really concerned with investment, regulation and standards.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/10/18/canadaeurope_trade_deal_no...

This is realy the crux of the issue.

 

 

Aristotleded24

josh wrote:
Typically you miss the point. The entire media, from right to moderate left (since there is no mass left media to speak of), generally back these agreements. And accept the BS neo-liberal economic line uncritically. It was that way with the FTA, with NAFTA, and now CETA. Same in the U.S. Don't forget that it was a Democratic administration and congress that pushed through NAFTA.

Yeah, seriously. The claim of 80 000 jobs created? Where did that come from?

MegB

As we've seen with the FTA and NAFTA, any touted benefits to the Canadian economy have been negated by the US's refusal to abide by the agreements where they benefit Canada. NAFTA alone ruined Canada's manufacturing sector, cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and helped plunge us into a crippling recession.

CETA is no more likely to open up a vast market for Canadian products than the FTA did. Any job creation will be more than offset by job losses, and Harper is making promises of compensation that he doesn't need to keep, because he won't be in office when the effects of CETA hit farmers and what little remains of the Canadian manufacturing sector. Sure, the corporate sector will reap benefits, but since when did those benefits ever trickle down to the rest of us? That's just recycled Reaganomic ideology.

If CETA is ratified, we'll be even more thoroughly screwed than we were by NAFTA. With Mulcair moving the NDP even further to the right, we have no federally elected advocate for our interests, so we progressives have a couple of years, at best, to get our collective shit together. We'll have to stop cannibalizing each other for the sake of shrinking funding and non-existent media attention. We need to stop being a dysfunctional family, endlessly torn apart by infighting and use our energies, talents and resources more productively. We're wasting time fighting for what little remains of our social welfare state. We need to take it back. All of it. And fight for more, not less.

nakedApe42 nakedApe42's picture

Free-trade ideology is a crock. It's just more of the same failed free-market reforms of the past 30 years that have caused all our economic problems: downsized and exported jobs, towering levels of inequality and debt, the hollowing out of the middle class and the 2008 global economic meltdown.

As Paul Krugman would tell you (an economist who won a Nobel Prize on international trade,) any benefits from increased exports are cancelled out by increased imports. So free trade doesn't create wealth or jobs.

In fact, Canadians will get hosed with CETA. While we export more beef and pork (know any industrial farm workers?), our big trade deficit with Europe in autos will increase killing good-paying auto-worker jobs.

Also, during the 24 years prior to the 1988 free-trade deal Canada's economy grew by 159%; in the 24 years after, it grew by less than half: 72%: Free trade ideology much ado about nothing.

Gotta hand it to neo-cons: they are great salesmen. It's as if they have everyone fooled with their free-trade sales pitch. But how long will it be before Canadians realize they have been sold a bill of goods?

autoworker autoworker's picture

josh wrote:
North Star wrote:

NDP Statement on CETA from Don Davies:

http://www.ndp.ca/news/statement-ndp-trade-critic-don-davies-proposed-ca...

Liberal Statement on CETA from le Dauphin:

http://www.liberal.ca/newsroom/news-release/statement-liberal-party-cana...

Green Party statement on CETA from Elizabeth May:

http://www.greenparty.ca/media-release/2013-10-18/green-party-opposes-an...

One of these things is not like the others...

 

Yeah, only the Green statement cleary attack the anti-democratic aspects of the deal.

Indeed, the secret dealing is the most troubling aspect of such comprehensive trade agreements. We'll see what emerges before the next election, but, I'll bet it'll be sold as a win for consumers, and urban professionals.

socialdemocrati...

In principle, trade agrements are dangerous when they make it easier for First-World Corporations to take advantage of low labor standards and low wages abroad.

Which is why Europe could be diferent. Their labor standards are similar to Canada's. (Or at least, far more similar than those of China, and Mexico, and still more similar than those of America.) There's at least the POSSIBILITY of getting a fair deal. If Canadian companies don't have an overwhelming incentive to move abroad, then the (advertised) payoff is that Canadian companies will have more customers abroad, and Canadian companies will stay in Canada and grow, and jobs will come with it.

But there's usually very little "free" about free trade. The governments who craft them wrangle over which sectors to favor, in exchange for selling out other sectors of the economy. There's legal loopholes. Corporate veto rights over government regulations. Even if you ignore the unfair competition in NAFTA, the fact of the matter is the deal is set up where Canada gives away its resources on American terms. And in exchange, we favor manufactured goods by American-owned companies, effectively destroying our own manufacturing base.

In theory, Europe could be different. In practice, it's part of Harper's vision of Canada as a lumber/oil/mining depot and not much else.

sherpa-finn

So, if free trade agreements are a 'race to the bottom' in terms of deregulation, lowering labour and envirionmental standards, etc. its not obvious to me how CETA is going to play out in Canada.

My impression is that most European standards are much higher than Canadian standards on a whole range of issues. And I see European beef producers are already complaining about not being on a level playing field with Canadian producers given our slack health and environmental standards.

(And I am not convinced that waving the red flag of the Greek and Spanish situations as examples of free trade tyranny is particularly relevant. Those power dynamics are much more related to fiscal policy, central banking and common currency - important, but not the stuff of these trade agreements.)   

Gonzaga

Aristotleded24, the claim of 80,000 jobs is discussed on the Progressive Economics Blog. It's a Munchhausenism. Assuming full employment, 80,000 new jobs are created by increased opportunities compared to what we would currently have if we had full employment. The economic model excludes the possibility of increases or decreases in the employment/unemployment rate.

Aristotleded24

sherpa-finn wrote:
So, if free trade agreements are a 'race to the bottom' in terms of deregulation, lowering labour and envirionmental standards, etc. its not obvious to me how CETA is going to play out in Canada.

I think it has a great deal to do with trying to lower standards in Europe. Standards around GMOs and hormones in agricultural products come to mind.

The EU is also kick-starting free trade negotiaions with the US.

Lens Solution

Rebecca West wrote:
If CETA is ratified, we'll be even more thoroughly screwed than we were by NAFTA. With Mulcair moving the NDP even further to the right, we have no federally elected advocate for our interests, so we progressives have a couple of years, at best, to get our collective shit together.

Isn't this the dilemma?  The NDP feels it needs to move to the center in order to compete with the Conservatives and Liberals.  Mulcair feels that in order to attract red tories & blue liberals and get the support of Bay Street, he must not be viewed as too far left.  But as we saw in Nova Scotia, there can be a danger for the NDP in moving too far away from its origins and losing contact with its base in an effort to be like the other parties.

Mulcair is a former Quebec Liberal minister, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that he was going to move the NDP to the right.  Ed Broadbent said last year the party should have picked Topp over Mulcair.  But the consensus at the leadership convention seemed to be it was time to move to the center, and thus Mulcair prevailed.

Brachina

Mulcair isn't moving the NDP to the centre he's moved it slightly to the left.

janfromthebruce

One may also look at the deal once it is fully released to see it. We have for a long time wanted to be more like some European countries with better environmental and labour laws and regulations. Also the most prominent supporters of an intergrated Europe and trade advocates by parties British Labour, French Socialists, German Social Democrats, Italian Democrats. Just saying.

H/t to socially democratice twitter acct.

PrairieDemocrat15

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I can't tell the difference between Don's statement and the Liberal one. What a sad, sad day for democracy in Canada. Tell the people of Greece and Spain that the EU is a great democracy with super workers rights. They have been yoked into a harness by the German and UK bankers and are seeing all their social programs destroyed.  But we should trust them becuase they are not those evil Chinese.

Don't worry that our local governments are going to lose their ability to run sustainable green local economies because maybe the Czechs or someone else will save us.

Don't forget that under the NAFTA favoured nation clause what Europe gets so does the US.

 

 

Really? I question your reading skills then. The NDP actually has some concerns with the deal, including its secrecy, incease to drug costs, effects on famers and municipalities, and exposing taxpayers to lawsuits from multinationals. The Liberals sing the praises of free-trade and only mention the need to "debate" CETA's ratification (but they see no problems with it).

PrairieDemocrat15

Brachina wrote:
Mulcair isn't moving the NDP to the centre he's moved it slightly to the left.

Don't know about moving the party leftwards, but the party has not moved to the right since the end of Layton's tenure.

PrairieDemocrat15

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Brachina wrote:
Both the NDP and Greens support increased trade, but have reservations about how this will effect stuff like dairy farmers, precurement and so on. Trudeau supports it and doesn't seem to question it in the slightest. I still say CETA can be constitutionally challenged by a future Provincial governemnt because it violates provincial federal judistictions when it comes to precurement. And of course if the Czech republic or any other nation or province decides it doesn't support the deal its deal. I just have a feeling it won't survive.

NAFTA is also unconstitutional and the provinces have said nothing about it.

Nope. Provincal governments accepted the NAFTA in 1993, albeit not without a little "encouragement" from Ottawa.

autoworker autoworker's picture

Mexico's automotive sector benefits from the intersection of separate trade agreements-- just ask Brazil.

Aristotleded24

janfromthebruce wrote:
One may also look at the deal once it is fully released to see it. We have for a long time wanted to be more like some European countries with better environmental and labour laws and regulations. Also the most prominent supporters of an intergrated Europe and trade advocates by parties British Labour, French Socialists, German Social Democrats, Italian Democrats. Just saying.

All of which have moved very far to the right during the era of neo-liberal globalization. The Italian Democrats were unable to motivate people in the most recent Italian elections, giving rise to 5 Star. The German Social Democrats are also floundering, and failed in recent elections. And Francois Hollande is so unpopular that polling suggests his party would not even make the second round of balloting.

And let's not get started about the British Labour Party. Going to war with Iraq in the face of massive public opposition is but one of the ways the party failed.

Also note that the problem of decreasing voter turn-out is also the case in Europe as well. Maybe they get a sense that they lose no matter who gets in?

autoworker autoworker's picture

Unless the NPD's socialist faction breaks away, and forms a majority government at the next election, CETA is, virtually, a fait accompli that needs to be faced, realistically. What's to be done?

sherpa-finn

autoworker asks: "What is to be done?"

Sounds like a good title for a book.  Smile

IMHO, whether we like it or not globalization is here to stay.  So it makes no sense to continue the anti-globalisation chatter. For all but the Walden Pond crowd, that train left the station years back.

Progressive discourse and activism needs to focus on "alternative" globalizations.  Models of globalization that put people, justice and the environment first, - ahead of markets, capital and corporations. 

And there's lots happening on that front .... just google World Social Forum, ATTAC, Control Arms .... Its just not all focused on national parliaments and politics.  And in many cases the issues are driven by countries, organizations and citizens of the Global South. 

Our personal politics notwithstanding, we need to remember that those of us taking home $34,000 a year are part of the Global 1%.

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

Some of us do endeavour to persevere, in our own quiet way.

Skinny Dipper

Unlike the Free Trade Agreement debate where John Turner stated that we Canadians could lose our culture, it's highly unlikely that any party leader would state that we Canadians would end up losing our culture to Europeans under CETA.

CETA will not go into effect until two years from now (after the next federal election).  I do think that the NDP will oppose the agreement.  However, there will likely be a caveat that if the party forms the next goverment, it will not rip-up the agreement.  Rather, it will likely look at the agreement after two or three years, and seek amendments if there are severe consequences for Canadians.

Unlike the 1988 election where the FTA was the central theme of the campaign, I don't think Tom Mulcair will make CETA the centrepoint of the NDP's election campaign.  It will just be one issue among many.

socialdemocrati...

PrairieDemocrat15 wrote:

Brachina wrote:
Mulcair isn't moving the NDP to the centre he's moved it slightly to the left.

Don't know about moving the party leftwards, but the party has not moved to the right since the end of Layton's tenure.

Mulcair is proposing lower corporate taxes than what Layton proposed, as well as a more comprehensive carbon tax. Trade has pretty much been status quo.

CETA under the Conservatives is likely to be a resource giveaway. And in exchange for giving favorable treatment to the oil sands (including a willingness to ignore the environmental costs), Harper will give favorable treatment to European manufacturers. All part of Harper's vision of Canada as a resource depot for the world, and not much else.

What's to be done?

CETA actually has the potential to be a fair trade agreement, considering that the labor and environmental protections of European countries are HIGHER than those of Canada. I can respect people who say "no trade would be better than CETA". But you'd be fighting for something much harder to achieve (actually IMPOSSIBLE to achieve through any of the political parties who might negotiate such an agreement), and fighting for 1000% more than what you'd need to shield us from the problems in the agreement.

There are far more people willing to listen if you point out specific problems with the agreement. Which is hard when the negotiations are so secretive, and that IS why the negotiations are so secretive. But if we could actually focus on specific provisions that give unfair rights to corporations or unfair advantages to foreign companies, then we would probably persuade far more people to rally against them.

janfromthebruce

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

PrairieDemocrat15 wrote:

Brachina wrote:
Mulcair isn't moving the NDP to the centre he's moved it slightly to the left.

Don't know about moving the party leftwards, but the party has not moved to the right since the end of Layton's tenure.

But if we could actually focus on specific provisions that give unfair rights to corporations or unfair advantages to foreign companies, then we would probably persuade far more people to rally against them.

in agreement. First blush is to remove the secrecy and see it so one can see how and who actually benefits and who doesn't.

Brachina

Yes full transparency.

PrairieDemocrat15

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

PrairieDemocrat15 wrote:

Brachina wrote:
Mulcair isn't moving the NDP to the centre he's moved it slightly to the left.

Don't know about moving the party leftwards, but the party has not moved to the right since the end of Layton's tenure.

What's to be done?

CETA actually has the potential to be a fair trade agreement, considering that the labor and environmental protections of European countries are HIGHER than those of Canada. I can respect people who say "no trade would be better than CETA". But you'd be fighting for something much harder to achieve (actually IMPOSSIBLE to achieve through any of the political parties who might negotiate such an agreement), and fighting for 1000% more than what you'd need to shield us from the problems in the agreement.

There are far more people willing to listen if you point out specific problems with the agreement. Which is hard when the negotiations are so secretive, and that IS why the negotiations are so secretive. But if we could actually focus on specific provisions that give unfair rights to corporations or unfair advantages to foreign companies, then we would probably persuade far more people to rally against them.

First step would be to reject any trade agreement that contains investor-state dispute (ISD) mechanisms, like the NAFTA's ch. 11. Australia, South Africa, and Brazil have stated they will not sign any agreements with these mechanisms. The federal NDP has notied concerns with ISD. That was one of the reasons they oppoed the China FIPA. Hopefully the NDP government of Manitoba and the PQ government of Quebec reject its implelmnetion regarding provincial matters. The fact that CETA, though its patents provisions, will increase provincial drug costs by $2b may intices other provincal governments to reject the deal. Wynne has already demanded compensation from the federal government on this, and I doubt that's forthcoming. 

NDPP

Brachina wrote:
Mulcair isn't moving the NDP to the centre he's moved it slightly to the left.

'slightly to the left' of the right...

josh

autoworker wrote:
josh wrote:
North Star wrote:

NDP Statement on CETA from Don Davies:

http://www.ndp.ca/news/statement-ndp-trade-critic-don-davies-proposed-ca...

Liberal Statement on CETA from le Dauphin:

http://www.liberal.ca/newsroom/news-release/statement-liberal-party-cana...

Green Party statement on CETA from Elizabeth May:

http://www.greenparty.ca/media-release/2013-10-18/green-party-opposes-an...

One of these things is not like the others...

 

Yeah, only the Green statement cleary attack the anti-democratic aspects of the deal.
Indeed, the secret dealing is the most troubling aspect of such comprehensive trade agreements. We'll see what emerges before the next election, but, I'll bet it'll be sold as a win for consumers, and urban professionals.

That's not the anti-democatic aspects I was referring to, but you can throw that in.  Using so-called trade agreements to weaken existing social and economic legislation, and to serve as a chilling effect to future legislation, is the far greater concern.

 

 

Brachina

NDPP wrote:

Brachina wrote:
Mulcair isn't moving the NDP to the centre he's moved it slightly to the left.

'slightly to the left' of the right...

That's pure fiction on your part, the truth is Mulcair has moved the NDP to the left of thier 2011 platform. Show me one area of 2011 that Mulcair has moved further to the right on.

socialdemocrati...

PrairieDemocrat15 wrote:

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

There are far more people willing to listen if you point out specific problems with the agreement. Which is hard when the negotiations are so secretive, and that IS why the negotiations are so secretive. But if we could actually focus on specific provisions that give unfair rights to corporations or unfair advantages to foreign companies, then we would probably persuade far more people to rally against them.

First step would be to reject any trade agreement that contains investor-state dispute (ISD) mechanisms, like the NAFTA's ch. 11. Australia, South Africa, and Brazil have stated they will not sign any agreements with these mechanisms.

I think this is one of the best things to focus on. If only we could find a high profile case where NAFTA's chapter 11 corporation-suing-the-state has come up, so we can galvanize people against it. Not only would people become aware of companies suing the government for trying to protect our health and safety... it helps to show people that many of these so-called "trade" agreements are also a trojan horse for issues that aren't about trade at all.

kropotkin1951

There have been many cases. Start with Newfoundland and the water rights the paper company got paid for when they abandoned their mills. What is happening is that the feds pay them out in settlements so there are few decisions.  If the NDP made a list and used all the amounts paid out over the last ten years the numbers get very high. 

The problem I have had with the NDP postion is that it appears to say that there could be enough in the agreement to offset the investor rights clause. Given the anti-democratic effect these corporate rights deals have, on municipalities especially, I think they need to say no agreement with those kinds of clauses is acceptable i.e. the same stance as Brazil and others. The tariff on individual items is the window dressing and the investor rights is the heart of the agreement.

socialdemocrati...

I agree with that. It's hard to find a galvanizing event, in the sense that so many of these incidents ARE local, and it's not to say that the average voter in Toronto is paying attention to what's happening in Newfoundland (or the other way around). But I'd be very interested to see a number attached to these settlements over time. Are those numbers even public? Settlements are usually private, but considering it's the government, there's some times when the public is guaranteed access to information. "NAFTA chapter 11 has cost all levels of government $X billion over the past 10 years." That might motivate public opinion to pay more attention to trade issues.

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