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Does the Ethyl Corporation's successful suit against the Canadian government regarding the ban of the chemical MMT illustrate that corporate profits trump a sovereign state's ability to protect their citizens under NAFTA, or does this case provide an example of a law that was rushed to take advantage of political optics and as a result was poorly crafted and subsequently overturned?

By Dana Gabriel

There were growing concerns over drug violence prior to the recent U.S.-Mexico summit, along with other issues which have been a source of friction between the two countries. Despite any perceived tension, both leaders showcased their bilateral partnership and vowed to enhance collaboration. They focused on immigration, along with economic issues and took steps to end the long-standing dispute over cross-border trucking. The leaders also agreed to further deepen their cooperation in combating drug cartels. 

By Dana Gabriel

Out of the ashes of the defunct Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), the U.S. has pursued simultaneous bilateral agendas with both Canada and Mexico, in an effort to further deepen North American economic and security integration. While the NAFTA framework remains intact, a recent announcement by Canada and the U.S. to work towards a trade and security perimeter agreement without Mexico, has some questioning the future of the whole trilateral process.

By André Picard

Provisions in a new trade deal being negotiated between Canada and the European Union could add about $2.8-billion a year in costs to Canadian drug plans if implemented, a new report warns.

The estimate includes $1.3-billion more for public drug plans and $1.5-billion for private drug plans.

"This will create a huge hole in provincial budgets in particular,” Aidan Hollis, a professor of economics at the University of Calgary and co-author of the report, said in an interview.

CETA New Report: Keep Europe Out of the Tar Sands!

Published by The Council of Canadians, Friends of the Earth Europe,
Indigenous Environmental Network, UK Tar Sands Network, January 2011

Canada´s tar sands are attracting global concern and criticism. The
tar sands have become one of the last frontiers for "Big Oil,"
including major European multinationals BP, Total and Shell. The
unfolding social and environmental disaster in Alberta demands urgent
action, including the respect of Indigenous rights, stronger
regulations on carbon emissions, water use and contamination, and
more. Yet the proposed Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic
and Trade Agreement (CETA), if completed as planned, threatens to
undermine stricter tar sands regulations in Canada and stronger
climate policies in Europe. This is confirmed in legal analysis
prepared for the Council of Canadians and The Indigenous
Environmental Network based on draft CETA text....

For full report see:


Mr. Hu also may be the weakest leader of the Communist era. He is less able to project authority than his predecessors were — and perhaps less able to keep relations between the world’s two largest economies from becoming more adversarial.

By Dana Gabriel

Canada and the European Union (EU) have already held five rounds of negotiations towards a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) which will go beyond NAFTA. With the sixth round of talks scheduled to take place in Brussels, Belgium from January 17-21, Canadian and EU officials remain optimistic that a deal could be finalized by the end of 2011. Thus far, negotiations have included key areas such as goods, rules of origin, services, investment, government procurement, as well as others. As talks enter their final crucial stages, there are growing concerns over the threat CETA poses to Canadian sovereignty. Coupled with the financial turmoil sweeping Europe, deep economic integration with the EU could prove disastrous.

In a recent article Maude Barlow, national chair of the Council of Canadians, points out the dangers Canada faces with the current CETA trade model. She warns that, “CETA will open up the rules, standards and public spending priorities of provinces and municipalities to direct competition and challenge from European corporations.” Barlow goes on to say, “Europe is seeking a comprehensive and aggressive global approach to acquiring the raw materials needed by its corporations. At its heart, this deal is a bid for unprecedented and uncontrolled European access to Canadian resources.” She also added, “CETA will likely have a NAFTA-type investor-state enforcement mechanism, which means that European corporations will have the same right that U.S. companies now enjoy to sue the Canadian government if it introduces new rules to protect the environment.” If CETA includes something similar to NAFTA's Chapter 11 which gives corporations the power to challenge laws and regulations that restrict their profits, U.S. and Mexican companies could benefit from any rulings that favour the EU. Ultimately, like NAFTA and other trade deals, CETA will further serve corporate interests.

A report released in December of last year, entitled Public Water for Sale: How Canada will privatize our public water systems, “exposes how CETA would open up public municipal water systems across Canada to privatization.” The paper prepared by the the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees cautions that, “public water in Canada will be lost unless the provinces and territories take immediate steps to remove water from the scope of the proposed Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.” The Union of B.C. Municipalities supports a resolution by those cities and towns who wish to receive a clear, permanent exemption from CETA. Others have voiced opposition to any deal that could deny government the ability to favour local businesses and create jobs. There has been increased pressure on Ottawa to either fully or partly shield the municipal sector from government procurement of goods and services. Giving the EU full access to sub-national purchasing and contracting in Canada would open up areas such as school boards, universities, hospitals, as well as other provincial agencies.

full article http://beyourownleader.blogspot.com/2011/01/from-nafta-to-ceta-canada-eu-deep.html

By Dana Gabriel

In the last year, the bilateral process has been the primary means used to advance North American integration, which has drawn little attention. With the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) seemingly stalled after being exposed and discredited, the U.S. channelled trilateral negotiations to parallel bilateral discussions with both Canada and Mexico

 Harper's Christmas Special: The myth of how fortress North America will boost Canadian exports to the U.S.

By James Laxer

Over the past quarter century, it has been a commonplace for right-wing continentalists to insist that without binding agreements between Canada and the United States, Canadian exports will be shut out of the American market.

The Canadian Press

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney says he believes a new security perimeter arrangement with the U.S. represents no threat to sovereignty but does offer a necessary insurance policy for the Canadian economy.

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