Analysis of CETA

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janfromthebruce

In fact, in Bob Rae's book from Protest to Power, he evokes the recently signed NAFTA agreement and chapter 11 as why they did not put in place public auto insurance. Every insurance co. from the good old USA would have sued for potential loss of business.

Geoff

Bob Mackenzie came to our AGM not long after the NDP was defeated in 1995.  He also argued that public auto insurance was scuttled because of the threat of lawsuits under NAFTA. 

However, it would have been better to allow the government to be sued, so Rae could then turn to the people and say, "Here's what you get with free trade".  Even if we had had to back down in the end, we would have made it clear why free trade was a bad idea. Instead,  he caved in, so we were deprived of that teachable moment.  I'll never forgive him for that. 

No reflection on Bob Mackenzie, by the way.  He was an honourable politician, and I'll always respect him for bringing in the anti-scab legislation that Ontario's 'Mussolini' reversed once he came to power in '95.

jerrym

Centrist wrote:

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: 

The PQ saw free trade as a mechanism to counter the argument that Quebec needed to stay in Canada in order to benefit from interprovincial trade. Free trade means a higher percentage of Quebec's trade is with other countries rather than the rest of Canada, making the threat of potential economic dislocations that might occur if Quebec became an independent country less fearful and hopefully soft nationalists more willing to take the risk of going independent. In addition, those promoting free trade appealed to a sense of Quebecois pride that the old pre-Quiet Revolution society that was economically dominated by the Anglo minority was gone and that Quebecois could now show they could compete in business on the world stage.

Gonzaga

Well, no deal really would be better, sez I. Canada's trade deficit with the EU stands at around $2 billion a month. So with more trade you'd expect a bigger trade deficit--unless the playing field is explicitly tilted the way we want, which I ain't bettin on.

The touted benefits from CETA are actually supposed to come from increased productivity (comparative advantage, I guess), whose benefits have been so ably demonstrated by previous trade agreements. Fact is, when employment is low, higher productivity just pushes it lower. I suppose our unemployed and welfare recipients might be grateful for the FTA and NAFTA saving them the bother of slaving away making stuff.

Oh yes, and our exports are overwhelmingly raw materials and theirs are finished goods. Comparative advantage favouring specialization, we get to extract more, and they get to make more.

Oh and btw. shipping more stuff around the world is pushing said world into environmental catastrophe. 

Canada is of course already not producing at full capacity, what with 15% of our would-be workers not working, so in principle we could very well make more stuff locally and ease off on the free trade. It would of course require adjustments to the way we run our economy. But it looks better than CETA, whatever the details might be.

ygtbk

If the government has a factual basis for the law or regulation in question, it ought not to be hard to defend. Unlike, of course, Sheila Copps' disastrous MMT suit. See:

http://www.naftaclaims.com/Disputes/Canada/EthylCorp/EthylCorpNoticeOfIntent.pdf

quizzical

kropotkin1951 wrote:
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. 

i don't think people get it or they wouldn't be for it.

example being here our municipal government cannot buy local or put up bids for just qualified locals to access. there's a New West Trade Partnership agreement  started in July.  The Village now has to put up all bids to SK and AB.

 

"The New West Partnership Trade Agreement is an accord between BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan, designed to remove barriers to the free movement of goods, services, investment, and people within and between the three provinces."

jerrym

The free trade debate is likely to be won by the government because the right-wing, talking head, intelligentsia and media will promote it through discussing its alleged advantages and through the terminology it uses, starting with the term free trade itself. Afterall, what is better than something that is "free", which implies that you are free to do or not do it and that it has no costs. Since life choices are essentially a series of tradeoffs between doing A or B, why would anyone be opposed to engaging in trade, especially when people normally thing of it as involving goods, something that most of us do everyday through the exchange of goods for money. 

Unless those opposed to these agreements can redefine them as corporate and property rights agreements that restrict other rights, such as those of workers, communities, environments and governments, to make choices other than those dictated by corporate and property rights the fight is lost almost before it starts. The right-wing intelligentsia and media's job is to so saturate the means of communication that any objections are drowned out in a sea of deafening support. 

sherpa-finn

Quizzical: gotta love a local paper called "The Goat"!

For years, mine was "The Casket".  (Some biblical reference, but everyone thought funerals, which kinda fit the editorial policy.)

Aristotleded24

Geoff wrote:
However, it would have been better to allow the government to be sued, so Rae could then turn to the people and say, "Here's what you get with free trade".  Even if we had had to back down in the end, we would have made it clear why free trade was a bad idea. Instead,  he caved in, so we were deprived of that teachable moment.  I'll never forgive him for that.

Indeed, I think the only way we're going to successfully challenge these trade deals is for local and provincial governments to try and implement these types of programs and show people exactly what kind of wall they are up against.

Unionist

[url=http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/behind-numbers/2013/10/ten-questions-can... questions for Canadians to ask about CETA[/url]

 

josh

ygtbk wrote:

If the government has a factual basis for the law or regulation in question, it ought not to be hard to defend. Unlike, of course, Sheila Copps' disastrous MMT suit. See:

http://www.naftaclaims.com/Disputes/Canada/EthylCorp/EthylCorpNoticeOfIntent.pdf

It shouldn't have to defend it, number one. Why should the right to democratic governance be at the mercy of foreign capital. It costs time and money to do so, number two. And, perhaps most importantly of all, the law can have a chilling effect on future social/economic legislation. Which is what the framers want. Multinational corporate interests over democracy.

Unionist

josh wrote:
Why should the right to democratic governance be at the mercy of foreign capital. It costs time and money to do so, number two. And, perhaps most importantly of all, the law can have a chilling effect on future social/economic legislation. Which is what the framers want. Multinational corporate interests over democracy.

What josh said!

I'm repeating this - just in case one of us has all their threads disappear in the future. If it happens to both of us, I've scribbled this on a piece of paper. Pre-NAFTA technology.

 

MegB

In case you were confused about the federal NDP's position on CETA, here's Karl on Parl ...

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/karl-nerenberg/2013/10/ndp-gets-blasted-...

Unionist

Rebecca West wrote:

 

In case you were confused about the federal NDP's position on CETA, here's Karl on Parl ...

 

">http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/karl-nerenberg/2013/10/ndp-gets-blasted-...

I do love Karl. I would like to believe it was his scorching exposé which forced the Globe to attach this to Jeffrey Simpson's stupid article (the one where he convinced himself that the NDP was opposing CETA):

Quote:
Clarification: The NDP will wait until the full text of CETA (the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement) is released "to determine if the deal is, on balance, a good deal for Canada." This information was not included in earlier online editions or the original print column published Saturday due to production deadlines.

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/the-ndp-fails-its-free-trade-l...

 

MegB

How the MSM just loves to portray the NDP (when they bother to mention them at all) as a bunch of radical pro-labour socialists, something they haven't been for decades. That change in direction is why Bob Rae found it so easy to transition to the Liberal party. And, as always, my special thanks to Buzz Hargrove for helping him along ...

ETA: Fortunately there are still individuals who remain true to the party's roots, and have demonstrable integrity, otherwise I'd have an even harder time voting NDP than I already do.

socialdemocrati...

Rebecca West wrote:

 

In case you were confused about the federal NDP's position on CETA, here's Karl on Parl ...

 

">http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/karl-nerenberg/2013/10/ndp-gets-blasted-...

Or if you want to understand the NDP position, you could just read the details of the NDP statement he's quoting from:

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.

Basically, another procedural-technocratic non-position.

The safest prediction going forward:

- The NDP will demand more transparency in anticipation of the details, but otherwise take no position on CETA.

- The Conservatives will offer no transparency, and insist the NDP is anti-trade.

- The NDP will heavily criticize the deal upon arrival, but insist that they are for *fair* trade, and would negotiate CETA differently.

And the public will largely not care, because no one is really trying to persuade them.

Fully 40 per cent of Canadians think a free trade agreement with the EU would have a positive or somewhat positive effect on the economy, with only 16 per cent saying the effect would be negative. Canadians have a similar view on an agreement with the TPP, with 42 per cent saying it would be positive and 18 per cent negative.

Reading between the lines, 40-45% of Canadians have no clue whether the TPP or CETA would benefit them. Someone asked "what do we do about it?" You'd think we'd want to talk more about that.

kropotkin1951

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

Basically, another procedural-technocratic non-position.

Exactly.  Tommy didn't bring in medicare in a vaccuum. He taught and taught and overcame a vicious press to convince people of its inherent social good. 

socialdemocrati...

Agreed. And that kind of Tommy Douglas campaign needs to happen both outside electoral politics as well as inside government. It took him 18 years before he could introduce medicare. It was truly a campaign.

How do we build a campaign on CETA? Really, how do we build a campaign against the current paradigm of globalization, keeping in mind in 2013, it's already here?

Politicians occasionally make arguments to persuade people to a new position (you should be for higher taxes). But they mostly try to activate people based on positions they know are popular (a lot of voters are simultaneously anti-tax and pro-social services -- maybe you can get them to focus on the second one when they finally get to the ballot box.)

It's disheartening to see that people favor these trade agreements 40% to 20%. But keep in mind that they probably think it's like craigslist, where they get something they want, we get something we want, and everyone wins. And then there's another 40% who largely don't understand or don't care. I believe we can convince them to care.

kropotkin1951

25 years ago we were told your predictions are just fear mongering. Now that all the data is in and it is at least as bad if not worse than we predicted I don't believe that acceptance is the right strategy.

These corporate rights agreements are one of the main causes of the decline in our Canadian standard of living.  Just because the corporate media lies and distorts and makes nasty attacks is no reason to stop speaking truth to power.  The NDP message is now mudding the waters for groups that have been fighting them for decades because they are saying there might be inherent merit in these deals and there is none.

Trade good!!! Corporate rights agreements bad!!  Its not really all that hard to follow.

kropotkin1951

SCD tell me who said, "it's the NDP's fault."  I presume you would not be implying I said such a thing given your abhorrence of putting words into people's posts.

kropotkin1951

The argument that it is already here leaves me very unhappy when coming from a young activist. The absurdness of that postion is highlighted when we take it to other issues that I feel deeply about.   Climate change is already here so should we just give up on that issue as well. Degradation of aboriginal culture and the destruction of their homelands is already here and has been for way more than 25 years. Somethings are worth fighting for no matter whether or not they will get you a majority government.

socialdemocrati...

No one said anything about giving up.

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Climate change is already here so should we just give up on that issue as well

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

And it's not to say they should be unconditionally in favor of NAFTA -- they're thankfully still criticizing the biggest corporate rights and corporate giveaways.

I'm not endorsing anyone giving up. Your position, however...

kropotkin1951 wrote:

SCD tell me who said, "it's the NDP's fault."

kropotkin1951 wrote:

The NDP message is now mudding the waters for groups that have been fighting them for decades

So you're NOT blaming the NDP?

Or is criticizing the NDP, in fact, your answer to what we should do about globalization?

kropotkin1951

So you admit you tried to put words into my posts.The very thing you called me a liar for.

Go away and leave me alone.

 

kropotkin1951

It is obvious that the NDP is a neutered irrelevant party that will not lead any real fight against globalization.  They didn't cause globalization they are merely giving in and the fight will have to be done by other groups.  That is the very reason I neither donate my time nor money to the party any longer. Frankly live is too short and my personal resources are too limited to spend it on issues like credit card charges and Senate abolition.

socialdemocrati...

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Go away and leave me alone.

If you want me to stop defending myself, stop attacking me. If you want me to stop responding to you, stop engaging with me.

While you're at it, stop attacking other babblers too. That's my advice.

socialdemocrati...

Corporate rights agreements are already here. The two governing parties for the past 25 years brought them about. The waters are plenty muddy already.

In fact, the NDP was literally at its weakest in history when its opposition to NAFTA was strongest. Which isn't to say that they lost because they opposed NAFTA -- you only have to look at the 1988 election to know that's not true. And it's not to say they should be unconditionally in favor of NAFTA -- they're thankfully still criticizing the biggest corporate rights and corporate giveaways. I'm only stating that saying it's the NDP's fault is a pretty lame excuse at this point.

kropotkin1951

kropotkin1951 wrote:

25 years ago we were told your predictions are just fear mongering. Now that all the data is in and it is at least as bad if not worse than we predicted I don't believe that acceptance is the right strategy.

These corporate rights agreements are one of the main causes of the decline in our Canadian standard of living.  Just because the corporate media lies and distorts and makes nasty attacks is no reason to stop speaking truth to power.  The NDP message is now mudding the waters for groups that have been fighting them for decades because they are saying there might be inherent merit in these deals and there is none.

Trade good!!! Corporate rights agreements bad!!  Its not really all that hard to follow.

Please explain how this post is a personal attack on you or anyone else.  I said the NDP MESSAGE was mudding the waters.  That is acceptable discourse on this board. What is your problem?

socialdemocrati...

Right, and I repsonded, and then you attacked me personally.

I'm going to just disengage right now. You've succeeded in dragging another thread into the gutter.

kropotkin1951

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

Right, and I repsonded, and then you attacked me personally.

I'm going to just disengage right now. You've succeeded in dragging another thread into the gutter.

LMAO

By the way you removed the quotation marks from the words you attributed too me without noting the edit for future readers. Thanks for playing fair and being such a standup guy.

 

ygtbk

josh wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

If the government has a factual basis for the law or regulation in question, it ought not to be hard to defend. Unlike, of course, Sheila Copps' disastrous MMT suit. See:

http://www.naftaclaims.com/Disputes/Canada/EthylCorp/EthylCorpNoticeOfIntent.pdf

It shouldn't have to defend it, number one. 

You appear to have a touching faith in the perfection of government.

I don't - I think it should be possible to challenge the government, since in my experience governments and their agencies do in fact get things wrong from time to time.

Aristotleded24

ygtbk wrote:

josh wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

If the government has a factual basis for the law or regulation in question, it ought not to be hard to defend. Unlike, of course, Sheila Copps' disastrous MMT suit. See:

http://www.naftaclaims.com/Disputes/Canada/EthylCorp/EthylCorpNoticeOfIntent.pdf

It shouldn't have to defend it, number one.

You appear to have a touching faith in the perfection of government.

I don't - I think it should be possible to challenge the government, since in my experience governments and their agencies do in fact get things wrong from time to time.

It's one thing to say a company should have the right to challenge a government regulation. I doubt anybody on this forum would be in disagreement. NAFTA doesn't merely provide a channel for a company to challenge government, it handcuffs government. The main criterion based on which companies can sue a government under NAFTA is does this regulation impact a company's profit. Since the ban of MMT in Canada obviously restricted the manufacturer's ability to profit from the sale of said product, of course the government didn't stand a chance.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

"

You appear to have a touching faith in the perfection of government.

I don't - I think it should be possible to challenge the government, since in my experience governments and their agencies do in fact get things wrong from time to time."

 

OK, but not business lobbies, wealthy billionaires, or Corporations. I don't want to know what they think; they aren't on our side.

ygtbk

@Aristotled24: see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methylcyclopentadienyl_manganese_tricarbonyl

Part of the reason Copps lost was insufficient proof that MMT was a health hazard. I think it's a big improvement over lead compounds: so does the EPA and Health Canada (we no longer have leaded gasoline). If it had been provably a health hazard my guess is that Copps would have won.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

ygtbk wrote:

@Aristotled24: see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methylcyclopentadienyl_manganese_tricarbonyl

Part of the reason Copps lost was insufficient proof that MMT was a health hazard. I think it's a big improvement over lead compounds: so does the EPA and Health Canada (we no longer have leaded gasoline). If it had been provably a health hazard my guess is that Copps would have won.

Well seeing we are offering opinion, I doubt the WTO would have ruled against Corporate interests.

janfromthebruce

In other news today, Justin Trudeau used his questions in the House today to give congrates to Stephen Harper on free trade. And that actually happened.

 

ygtbk

@Arthur: it wasn't a WTO case, it was a NAFTA case. But you are entitled to your opinion.

kropotkin1951

The other main problem with these investor rights clauses is that they are adjudicated outside of our court system and with no appeal mechanism.  I don't necesarily trust that our lower court judges will get things right all the time that is why their decisions are appealable. I trust corporate arbitrators even less.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

ygtbk wrote:

@Arthur: it wasn't a WTO case, it was a NAFTA case. But you are entitled to your opinion.

OK, got confused. Thanks. And thanks for letting me have an opinion; I really appreciate that. If I want to change it, I'll clear it with you first.

ygtbk

Arthur Cramer wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

@Arthur: it wasn't a WTO case, it was a NAFTA case. But you are entitled to your opinion.

OK, got confused. Thanks. And thanks for letting me have an opinion; I really appreciate that. If I want to change it, I'll clear it with you first.

Not necessary to clear with me. You are entitled to your opinion, just as I am entitled to mine. A simple idea, for sure, but one that too few people take seriously.

josh

Aristotleded24 wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

josh wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

If the government has a factual basis for the law or regulation in question, it ought not to be hard to defend. Unlike, of course, Sheila Copps' disastrous MMT suit. See:

http://www.naftaclaims.com/Disputes/Canada/EthylCorp/EthylCorpNoticeOfIntent.pdf

It shouldn't have to defend it, number one.

You appear to have a touching faith in the perfection of government.

I don't - I think it should be possible to challenge the government, since in my experience governments and their agencies do in fact get things wrong from time to time.

Huh? We're not talking about some domestically regulated industry or citizen challenging a decision of a governmental agency. We're talking about a foreign multi-national corporation trying to recover damages for the effects of social and economic legislation in another country. This has nothing to with faith in government but belief in democratic governance and national sovereignty.

MegB

Socialdem and K, please stop derailing the thread. If you want to bicker, take it to PM.

MegB

Need I remind you that likening a woman doing this job to a nagging mother panders to an incredibly sexist stereotype? I'm surprised at you K.

ygtbk

@Josh - did you read any of the Ethyl Corp / NAFTA / MMT material at all?

kropotkin1951

If it makes you feel better I would have written yes Daddy to Catchfire. Why is SDM allowed to repeatedly call me a liar and this is the only response you have despite my request for intervention?

I have edited the above given your interpretation of it.

josh

For what purpose?

kropotkin1951

yes Employee and representative of the corporate owner.

ygtbk

josh wrote:

For what purpose?

Because it's (in my view) a relevant example.

kropotkin1951

I read the material and the problem is that it was not a court of law with proper appeals.  Why should a corporate arbitrator be deciding what is an acceptable threshold of harm to the commuiity.  That should be for citizens to decide and for their government to implement.

It is hard to say what this case actually was about since you have merely posted the pleadings of one side.  I hate these new PDF files because I find them extremely hard to copy and paste. i guess that is to protect some corporate right as well.

josh

Since I don't believe these cases should permitted to be brought in the first place, it's really immaterial (to me).

 

ygtbk

OK, here's a simple hypothetical.

Suppose one day Health Canada announces that Huawei cell phones cause brain cancer, but iPhones don't. As a result, importation of Huawei cell phones is immediately banned, but importing iPhones is fine. Huawei asks to see Health Canada's evidence that their phones are a problem. Health Canada answers "uhh, confidential - and SCIENCE!"

Should Huawei have any legal rights in this situation?

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