Saturday, February 06, 2010

The New Trade Deal

Colour CUPE unimpressed:
With the bulk of U.S. stimulus money already spent, the deal does very little to resolve the issue that started the dispute - specifically, that Canada could not profit from U.S. stimulus dollars. However, the new agreement will leave the 'Buy America' provisions basically intact, and only applies to the 37 states that have signed on to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA).

Meanwhile, under WTO rules provinces and municipalities will lose an important policy tool in the form of local purchasing power.

"Buy local policies are good for the environment and for Canadian businesses, and they keep jobs and tax revenues in the community. Why the Harper government would enter Canada into such an uneven deal for Canada is baffling," said Moist.

The agreement may also open the floodgates to increased privatization of public services such as water and hydro. While provincial and municipal procurement was previously excluded from NAFTA, now U.S. investors will be able to launch Chapter 11 investor rights challenges if they feel provinces or municipalities are taking policy actions that harm their interests.

"This deal commits Canadian governments to forfeit valuable procurement sovereignty, while the U.S. offer is largely empty. This kind of risk is the last thing we need during an economic slowdown. Our government needs to look at improving its own record of research, development and innovation, instead of selling our provinces and municipalities short."
If the last part of this is in fact the case, the government has some explaining to do. How is privatization of water good for the country? Will it lead to bulk water exports? Will the lights come on and will an Enron rise up to gouge consumers for the privilege of having electricity? All of these questions should rightly be put to the Prime Minister in the House, but we all know the PM would rather give speeches in BC than answer questions in his own Parliament.
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  1. For Canada to make such a deal with a predatory and desperate capitalist culture that knows no mores, knows no shame, and knows no ethics is a recipe for disaster. As we all know from the NAFTA experience, the litigious nature of American businesses always rears its ugly head in these types of agreements when they lose out on contracts to Canadian companies. Such actions, in effect, undermine the spirit and intent of said agreements and deprive Canadian companies from gaining fair access to their markets. All US concerns are interested in is cornering the market on our natural resources and privatizing them. This deal is bad, little more than a desperate effort on Harpo's part to deflect attention away from what really matters... his impending defeat! In March, when parliament reconvenes, the opposition should censure this deal and say, politely, but firmly to our US cousins - thanks, but no thanks.

  2. Both these above comments are pure selfish socialist bunk. A deal for fairness must include equal reciprocity from both sides. It is easy to be snotty and isolationist against the USA, but how poor do you want to be, and how many thousands of current jobs do you want to loose, for you to indulge in your pity party. We are a trading nation that lives far above where we would otherwise be, if we did not sell to the USA. So much can be said against the above comments, as they violate all the basics of economic science as well as Canada's real-world experience.

  3. Attacking us isn't answering the questions. How is privatizing water utitlities going to help Canadians get jobs? How about electricity? What's next? Are we going to get rid of our banking regulations because they don't conform to the Wall Street ideal? If you spent your time answering these questions rather than engaging in ad hominem attacks, you might make some converts. Otherwise, I suspect you know you have got nothing but bluster and bullying on your side.