Council of Canadians Welcomes Renegotiation of NAFTA If There Is Consultation With The Public

NAFTA ‘has hurt people in all three countries (Canada, Mexico and the United States,” says Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow. “We need a better deal, not a worse one.”

A Media Advisory from the Ottawa-based citizens group, Council of Canadians

Trump and other U.S. presidential candidates were greeted with many signs like this last year on the campaign trail.

Trump and other U.S. presidential candidates were greeted with many signs like this last year on the campaign trail.

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order today this January 23rd) to launch the renegotiation of NAFTA, having already signed one to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. As an organization formed in response to the first free trade agreement with the U.S., the Council of Canadians is available for comment.

“NAFTA has needed renegotiation since before it was signed. It has hurt people in all three countries, and has resulted in larger inequality and corporate rights. Chapter 11 is a symbol of that,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “But negotiating behind closed doors is not going to solve the problem. It will not give us a deal that puts the interests of people and communities before corporations. We need a better deal, not a worse one.”

The Council is calling for:

  •   transparency through the entirety of the negotiations – especially in regards to what Trudeau is conceding to Trump to maintain NAFTA
  •   meaningful consultations with the general public, as well as consultations and consent from First Nations
  • removal of the controversial Chapter 11 investor-state provision
  • removal of all references to water in NAFTA as a good, service or investment, unless to allow for the specific protection or exclusion of water
  • an exemption from NAFTA’s energy proportionality rule in order to meet our Paris climate commitments
  • a North American Auto Pact to ensure that each country receives a proportional share of employment and investment, and that workers have good jobs and fair wages
  • strengthening the exemption of medicare in NAFTA to allow for an expansion of public health care in areas including pharmacare
  • protection of farmers and the local control over farm and food polices
  • the right to use procurement to create jobs and local economic projects
  •  clear rules assessing that trade serves communities and people, not the other way around

For more information on the Council of Canadians and the issues it is addressing, clikc onhttps://canadians.org/ .

Signs like the one in this photo - this one in the U.S. - have been held up by numberous citizens in both the United States and Canada over the past year. U.S. candidates like Trump, Bernie Sanders and, later, even Hillary Clinton, took them to heart. In Canada, Justin Trudeau so far seems determined to sign the TPP trade deal, despite any and all opposition.

Signs like the one in this photo – this one in the U.S. – have been held up by numberous citizens in both the United States and Canada over the past year. U.S. candidates like Trump, Bernie Sanders and, later, even Hillary Clinton, took them to heart. In Canada, Justin Trudeau so far seems determined to sign the TPP trade deal, despite any and all opposition.

(A Brief Update and Comment from Niagara At Large – At the time of this posting, Trump had followed through and signed executive orders to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico and the United States, and to walk away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (TPP) which Canada, through former prime minister Stephen Harper and current PM Justin Trudeau, has continued to pledge to be apart of.

While many of us, including organizations representing workers and other citizens across Canada and the United States fell good reason to welcome these particular moves by Trump, we might do well to  consider that old saying; ‘Be careful what we wish for,” especially when it is Donald Trump rather than someone like U.S. senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (who also believes both the NAFTA and TPP are bad deals for ordinary working citizens) steering the way here on how we negotiate fairer trade arrangements for all citizens in the future.

So don’t take your eye off of what is unfolding here, people!)

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater binational Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

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One response to “Council of Canadians Welcomes Renegotiation of NAFTA If There Is Consultation With The Public

  1. A couple of vital points are protection of water, our biggest and most important resource, complying with environmental rules and forbidding foreign businesses from suing over failure to comply with the rules of the country in which they are operating.

    Although I’m not an expert on the details, one example was a local firm which promptly padlocked its doors with no notice, except gossip, leaving their Canadian employees without their accrued benefits. They did not go bankrupt but returned to the US and, to my understanding at least, did not use their remaining assets here to comply with Canadian rules that protect employees. It seems they obeyed AMERICAN regulations although operating in Canada whereas CANADIAN regulations require payment of benefits due to employees. That is wrong and left many people in desperate straits after years of working for the firm.

    Like

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