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
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 on – https://canadians.org/ .
(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!)
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders