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  • CCPA in Europe for CETA speaking tour October 17, 2017
    On September 21, Canada and the European Union announced that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a controversial NAFTA-plus free trade deal initiated by the Harper government and signed by Prime Minister Trudeau in 2016, was now provisionally in force. In Europe, however, more than 20 countries have yet to officially ratify the deal, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Twelve year study of an inner-city neighbourhood October 12, 2017
    What does twelve years of community organizing look like for a North End Winnipeg neighbourhood?  Jessica Leigh survey's those years with the Dufferin community from a community development lens.  Read full report.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Losing your ID - even harder to recover when you have limited resources! October 10, 2017
    Ellen Smirl researched the barriers experienced by low-income Manitobans when faced with trying to replace lost, stolen, or never aquired idenfication forms. Read full report here.  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA recommendations for a better North American trade model October 6, 2017
    The all-party House of Commons trade committee is consulting Canadians on their priorities for bilateral and trilateral North American trade in light of the current renegotiation of NAFTA. In the CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew, and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood argue for a different kind of trading relationship that is inclusive, transformative, and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Ontario’s fair wage policy needs to be refreshed September 28, 2017
    The Ontario government is consulting on ways to modernize the province’s fair wage policy, which sets standards for wages and working conditions for government contract workers such as building cleaners, security guards, building trades and construction workers. The fair wage policy hasn’t been updated since 1995, but the labour market has changed dramatically since then. […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

Corporate rights masquerading as trade (again)

Anti-democratic investor rights deals are in the news again, thanks partly to a Communications Workers of America & Trade Justice Network event that brought Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz to Canada. Professor Stiglitz pronounced the Trans-Pacific Partnership the “worst trade deal ever”, adding that provisions allowing multi-nationals to sue governments are particularly toxic.

Professor Gus van Harten pointed out that enacting the CETA and the TPP would dramatically increase the number of corporations that are allowed to sue Canadian governments. Canada is already the most sued nation under various investor state dispute settlement mechanisms. Under NAFTA, Canada has settled 4 investor claims for a cost of $150 million, lost 3 cases for a cost of about $48 million, and 7 cases are still ongoing as of 2015.  The problem with corporations suing governments is not only the cost, but the regulatory chill.

And Pia Eberhardt told us that the changes to CETA’s investor state dispute settlement mechanism didn’t fix the basic problems, calling it the zombie ISDS. She said that Canada’s experience with NAFTA was a big part of the reason Europeans were so mobilized against including similar mechanisms in their own deals.

The Broadbent Summit also hosted a panel on “The Free Trade Charade”, where Michael Geist, Ianik Marcil, Pia Eberhardt, and I explained why there was very little benefit to joining the TPP, but lots of risks.

The other reason that trade deals are in the news is because the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade wants to hear your views on the TPP. You are encouraged to send them a 1,500 word brief on how the TPP will impact you and your community at ciit-tpp-ptp@parl.gc.ca no later than April 30, 2016.

P.S. If you missed the Making Sense of the TPP event held at the University of Ottawa on April 1, the video is is available at: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsroom/updates/what%E2%80%99s-big-deal-understanding-trans-pacific-partnership.

It includes the keynote address by Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

The morning panel included:

  • Gus Van Harten, Associate Professor – Osgoode Hall Law School – Who has benefited financially from special privileges in the TPP for foreign investors in ISDS?
  • Meghan Sali, Digital Rights Specialist, Open Media – IP, copyright and Canada’s digital future
  • Scott Sinclair, Senior Researcher, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Trade and Investment Project – Democratic deficit: the TPP’s questionable legitimacy

The afternoon panel included:

  • Professor Ron Labonte, Canada Research Chair Globalization and Health Equity and Ashley Schram The TPP and health. Few gains, some losses and many risks
  • Jeronim Capaldo, Research Fellow Global Development and the Environment, Tufts University “Unemployment, Inequality and other Risks in the TPP”
  • Steven Shrybman, Goldblatt Partners “Does the TPP really advance labour rights?”
  • Pia Eberhardt, Researcher and Campaigner, Corporate Europe Observatory “Why are Europeans concerned about TPP’s little brother, the CETA?”

This event was hosted by the Trade Justice Network, CWA/SCA Canada, and the University of Ottawa’s School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, and The School of International Development Studies.

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