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  • Report looks at captured nature of BC’s Oil and Gas Commission August 6, 2019
    From an early stage, BC’s Oil and Gas Commission bore the hallmarks of a captured regulator. The very industry that the Commission was formed to regulate had a significant hand in its creation and, too often, the interests of the industry it regulates take precedence over the public interest. This report looks at the evolution […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Correcting the Record July 26, 2019
    Earlier this week Kris Sims and Franco Terrazzano of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation wrote an opinion piece that was published in the Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, Winnipeg Sun, Ottawa Sun and Toronto Sun. The opinion piece makes several false claims and connections regarding the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP), which we would like to correct. The […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Rental Wage in Canada July 18, 2019
    Our new report maps rental affordability in neighbourhoods across Canada by calculating the “rental wage,” which is the hourly wage needed to afford an average apartment without spending more than 30% of one’s earnings.  Across all of Canada, the average wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment is $22.40/h, or $20.20/h for an average one […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada July 9, 2019
    CCPA senior economist David Macdonald co-authored a new report, Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada­—released by Upstream Institute in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)—tracks child poverty rates using Census 2006, the 2011 National Household Survey and Census 2016. The report is available for […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Fossil-Power Top 50 launched July 3, 2019
    What do Suncor, Encana, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Fraser Institute and 46 other companies and organizations have in common? They are among the entities that make up the most influential fossil fuel industry players in Canada. Today, the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP) is drawing attention to these powerful corporations and organizations with the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

Richardson Out

Obama’s selection of pro-NAFTA politicians as his Chief of Staff, Commerce Secretary, and US Trade Representative worried those of us who hope that he is serious about renegotiating NAFTA.

This afternoon’s news that Bill Richardson has withdrawn reopens the possibility of appointing a NAFTA critic to the Commerce portfolio.

Anyway, hope springs eternal.

Enjoy and share:


Comment from Stephen Gordon
Time: January 4, 2009, 7:57 pm

I don’t think a US NAFTA critic has Canadian interests in mind. Be careful of what you wish for, especially with stories like this out there:

Obama’s transition team said it is mulling “buy American” provisions for the stimulus package that could favor U.S. companies over foreign competitors.

This is not a game that Canada will do well in.

Comment from Erin Weir
Time: January 4, 2009, 9:28 pm

To the extent that renegotiating NAFTA could pit Canadian economic interests against American economic interests, I agree that US Democrats would not promote Canadian interests.

However, to the far greater extent that renegotiating NAFTA pits citizens’ interests against corporate interests, I think that US Democrats would redress the balance to the benefit of working people in all three countries. Indeed, the changes that Democrats have actually proposed fall into this benevolent category: stronger labour/environmental standards and less latitude for foreign investors to directly challenge public policy (Chapter 11).

In cases where a “Buy American” policy caused the purchase of American as opposed to Canadian products, it would obviously harm Canada. But in cases where it caused the purchase of American products instead of overseas products, it would help Canada. Because manufacturing processes are so highly integrated across the Canada-US border, more demand for American products would increase demand for Canadian products. Indeed, such integration would make it difficult for American policy to discriminate against Canada.

Comment from Stuart Murray
Time: January 5, 2009, 4:16 pm

Well, we have our own “Buy Canadian” campaigns that parallel the “Buy American” campaigns. You should either think they’re both okay or they’re both bad, pick one.

Also, I think Honda’s sales went up last year because they make the best cars. “Ram Tough” is a practical joke on rednecks, and they should get used to the idea that their machinery is inadequate. Any trade policy or industrial policy must accommodate sensible people who want to buy high quality products for the best price.

For me, the progressive trade agenda should be devoted to curtailing Chapter 11 and creating labour and environmental standards. I would also put in a bid for a minimum corporate tax (15%?), which could ultimately affect tax havens in the caribbean as they sign on to trade deals.

Comment from Stephen Gordon
Time: January 6, 2009, 4:41 pm

So Mexican workers – who are paid a fraction of what US and Canadian workers earn – are the enemy against whom the US and Canada should make common cause?

Why is this a progressive point of view?

Comment from travis fast
Time: January 6, 2009, 7:07 pm

Stronger labour rights would make it easier for all workers in NA to make a common cause, no?

Comment from Rod Smelser
Time: January 8, 2009, 4:22 pm

I agree Erin.

What’s needed are higher objective standards in areas of worker health and safety, worker employment and bargaining rights, and environmental protection. Generally speaking, I think trade agreements and agreements on investor rights ought to be separated. One shouldn’t have to give up the right to restrict ownership of plant and equipment, or land and resources, in order to achieve reductions in tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods and services.

And surely it’s the height of insincerity for anyone to argue that higher standards are some kind of attack upon low-paid workers. This is clearly the exact opposite of the truth, but given a favourable media climate this kind of Orwellian double-talk can soon become very clever marketing for those whose only real agenda is making the world safe for the rich.

I find it breath-taking that after the Bush years and the softwood lumber actions that people in Canada, especially in the business press, are still putting out the old nostrum that Democrats are protectionists and Republicans are free traders. Sure the Democrats have some Max Baucus types who, besides expressing genuine environmental concerns about some BC actions in the mining sector, are also happy to exclude competitively priced Canadian lumber products. But on the whole, Canada did better under Clinton than Bush.

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