Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Canada Being Viewed as "Sneaks" by Europeans

A piece coming from Europe suggests that Canada talks dirty on trade

Citing an access to information request, it has been learned that the Canadian government, has tried to "sneak" in a clause, in their proposed EU trade deal, that overrides environmental policies of European nations, when it comes to exporting oil from the tar sands.

Says David Cronin, who wrote the expose, for European readers:
Whenever I hear the name Canada, I go all mushy. Chipmunks capering in suburban gardens; waitresses that sing the word “awesome” every time someone asks for a beer; summer afternoons beside majestic lakes. Could this be the world’s cutest country?

There is one anomaly: a repugnant government. Stephen Harper, its prime minister, has arguably posed a bigger threat to the survival of the human species than his buddy, George W Bush. Though little known over here, Harper should be regarded as an enemy of the European people.
"An enemy of the European people"?

Get in line Mr. Cronin. He was an enemy of the Canadian people first. We are just as repulsed by him as you are.

Some Canadians travelling overseas are sewing American flags on their caps and backpacks. Maybe they should just have T-Shirts made with the image of Harper and the caption. 'Don't hate me. I can't stand the man either'.

And in Europe, they are concerned with the same things we should be concerned with. The Chapter 11 of NAFTA that allows corporations to sue us, if we attempt to impede their ability to make a profit. And their water.
The European Services Forum, an influential outfit banding together Veolia, Goldman Sachs and Vodafone, is advocating that CETA should be modelled on the North America Free Trade Agreement, concluded between the US, Canada and Mexico in 1994. The forum particularly wants chapter 11 of NAFTA pasted into an EU-Canada accord. That chapter allows private firms to sue governments over laws or measures regarded as obstacles to profit-making. NAFTA has undermined the concept that water is a public resource. In 2008, AbitibiBowater, a Canadian company registered in the US, closed a paper mill it operated in Newfoundland. When the province sought to re-appropriate water use permits allocated to the company, AbitibiBowater invoked NAFTA to argue it owned the licenses (even though they were conditional on production). Effectively enabling water to be privatised, the federal government decided to settle the company’s 130 million Canadian dollar (93 million euros) claim.

If comparable provisions make their way into CETA, we could easily see North American behemoths waging war against authorities in Europe which, say, oppose genetically modified crops. Providing executives with all that ammunition is an assault on democracy, yet CETA has elicited little comment on this continent. Unless it’s stopped, we could be sleepwalking towards disaster.
Good luck stopping him, but if you know how, please fill us in.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, maybe we can learn from angry Europeans. "sleepwalking toward disaster": Yep, that would be us.