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For years, we’ve been told the dictates of globalization, and the intrusive and prescriptive terms of free trade agreements in particular, are immutable, natural, and unquestionable.
I presented at the Standing Committee on International Trade’s incredibly brief review of the implementing legislation for CETA. With me were representatives from the Business Council of Canada, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Canadian Cattleman’s Association. There are only two more meetings scheduled, and there are no IP experts, no pharmaceutical experts, no representatives […]
I was somewhat surprised to see Stephen Poloz recently urging economists to do more work identifying and disseminating research on the supposed benefits of free trade. That’s slightly beyond his job description (perhaps more fitting with his last position as head of Export Development Canada). But like economic leaders elsewhere in the world, Mr. Poloz […]
In 1995, Canadian First Ministers signed an Agreement on Internal Trade. From the website, “Its purpose is to reduce and eliminate, to the extent possible, barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services, and investment within Canada and to establish an open, efficient, and stable domestic market.” Well, it turns out that agreement, although […]
On June 16th the House Committee on International Trade held its 27th meeting about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, Scott Sinclair, and Gus Van Harten were all in Ottawa to tell parliamentarians just how bad the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be for Canada. We outlined the limitations on […]
The fine folks at the Institute for Research on Public Policy have undertaken an important and eclectic review of Canadian trade policy. They have marshaled 30 contributions from researchers addressing all aspects of Canada’s recent trade performance, and how we can improve it. The contributions will eventually be published in a single volume, Redesigning Canadian […]
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 […]
My friend and fellow #cdnecon tweeter Mike Moffatt has published a thought-provoking commentary regarding the impact of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Canada’s auto industry. Specifically, Mike engages critically with previous arguments I have made (on this site and elsewhere) that the TPP, as currently negotiated, could result in the ultimate loss of […]
With an agreement reached on the Trans Pacific Partnership, the 12-member trade and investment treaty, opinions began swirling about what the deal means for the future of Canada. Plenty of facts have been bandied about in an effort to clarify the TPPâ€™s significance: 12 Pacific Rim countries, 800 million people, 36 percent of global GDP […]
For years, trade and justice activists have proposed renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement to address some of the deal’s most damaging features: for example, by removing the anti-democratic investor-state dispute settlement provisions of Chapter 11, linking trade benefits to genuine protections for human and labour rights (all the more important given the deteriorating […]
In light of the latest NAFTA Chapter 11 decision to go against Canada, I was asked to put together some background notes for our Unifor leadership on this bizarre quasi-judicial kangaroo courtsystem.Â Here they are, in case they are useful for anyone else getting up to speed on the whole investor-state dispute system. Some very […]
There are many motivations to explain the Harper government’s rush to sign free trade deals.Â Since coming to power, the Conservatives have implemented 6 FTAs, have “concluded” 2 moreÂ (with Korea and, purportedly, with the EU), and have fully 14 other FTA negotiations on the go.
The prospect of freer trade with European nations is generally popular among Canadians. And why shouldn’t it be? Doesn’t the Canadian left repeatedly point to the advantages of many European social and economic institutions? Who could argue with lower prices for European cheese, wine, or chocolate? After all, we’ve been waiting for years for the […]
In my many years documenting and critiquing the overblown claims of free trade proponents about the supposedly self-regulating efficiency-promoting mutually-benefiting effects of globalization, I’ve encountered some real doozies.Â
Mel Clark, a long time trade negotiator for Canada, passed away on March 14. His Notice of Death in the April 24 Globe and Mail describes him as “an independent and progressive thinker with a strong sense of social responsibility.“ “Mel`s decades of experience in the world of international trade had convinced him that free […]
On last nightâ€™s The National, Terry Milewski introduced the Canada-Korea trade deal as follows: The truth is that Canada is a latecomer to free trade with South Korea. The European Union and the United States both got there first, and their free trade deals took a big bite out of Canadaâ€™s exports. So, the government […]
I have the following letter to the editor in todayâ€™s Prince Albert Daily Herald: Canada-Europe Deal Not About Trade In their letter of Dec. 3, Darryl Hickie and other Sask. Party MLAs back away from his previous claim that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU) would be […]
Last weekâ€™s federal throne speech stated, â€œThe Government will soon complete negotiations on a comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union [CETA]. This agreement has the potential to create 80,000 new Canadian jobs.â€ There has since been a subtle but important shift in the governmentâ€™s wording around that figure, as I point out […]
On last nightâ€™s Lang & Oâ€™Leary Exchange, I debunked the claim that the trade deal between Canada and the European Union (EU) will create 80,000 Canadian jobs. The conservative panelists did not even try to defend this figure (see this CBC video, starting at 15:45). As Jim Stanford has previously explained on this blog, the […]
A recent investment advice column in the Globe and Mail (by David Milstead, August 3) highlighted some surprising facts about Mexicoâ€™s economy. The bullish author suggested Mexico will be a global economic powerhouse in future years thanks to pro-business policy shifts (like the new plan to open up the petroleum sector, 65 years after nationalization, […]
With Prime Minister Harper making the diplomatic rounds in Europe, media interest has heightened this week regarding the potential free trade agreement which his government is trying to negotiate with the European Union. Several deadlines to reach that deal have come and gone, but the Conservatives are still heavily committed to reaching a deal as […]
1. Heâ€™s Number Two:Â Stephen Poloz was widely acknowledged in economic and political circles as the second-best choice for the top job at the Bank of Canada. So the surprise was not that he was chosen. The surprise was, Why Not Tiff Macklem? Will someone please find out and tell the rest of us? 2. […]
Posted by Armine Yalnizyan under Bank of Canada, Conservative government, economic growth, free markets, free trade, G-20, inflation, interest rates, international trade, macroeconomics, monetary policy, Role of government, stimulus, unemployment.
May 3rd, 2013
This week’s edition of Embassy newspaper contained a very interesting briefing insert on the Canada-EU CETA talks.Â Below is a commentary from me critiquing the ubiquitous but unbelievable claim that free-trade with Europe would boost Canada’s GDP by $12 billion, create 80,000 jobs, and life incomes by $1000 per family.
Last month’s over-the-top “celebrations”of the 25th anniversary of Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan’s signing of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement seemedÂ strained, to my mind.Â The self-congratulation and back-patting struck me as rather overdone, contrived even.Â Remember, this wasn’t the 25th anniversary of the FTA’s implementation (that won’t occurÂ until Jan. 1 2014).Â It was only the […]
It’s been an unusually hot summer, and soaring temperatures have boosted sales of that quintessential summer food, ice cream. But Baskin-Robbins has decided to shut its production facility in Peterborough, Ont., and lay off 80 workers because of…wait for it… increased demand! From the department of “wait, what?”, here’s the scoop behind this brain-freeze-inducing decision. […]
The Harper government currently lists 18 different sets of free trade negotiations “in play.”Â (See my recent post on this.)Â Today the government announced (from the G-20 meetings in Mexico) the 19th: Canada has been invited to join the Trans Pacific Partnership talks.Â The TPP negotiations were initiated several years ago bya number of smaller […]
DFAIT’s web site currently lists 18 different trade deals currently “in play” (and that doesn’t count the Trans-Pacific Partnership, where Ottawa is so far just flirting). But Harper’s push to sign as many FTAs as possible while he has a majority will not improve Canada’s actual trade, which is deteriorating (both quantitatively and qualitatively) the […]
The Prime Minister’s trip to China last week sparked a flurry of media coverage regarding prospects for “closer” economic ties between Canada and China.Â Some even speculated that another free trade agreement is in the works (as soon as the Harper government inks its planned deals, of course, with the EU, India, Korea, and the […]
Last week (Feb. 2nd) I drove up to London, Ontario, to shoot some film footage of the locked-out workers picketing outside the Electro-Motive Diesel plant for a documentary I am working on. The company, the only one to make locomotives in Canada, is owned by Caterpillar Inc., the worldâ€™s largest equipment manufacturer. They’d locked out […]
Canadian free trade negotiators are going all-out to get a deal with the EU on a new free trade agreement. The Harper government wants a deal badly for largely symbolic and ideological purposes, to show that the free trade agenda is back on track under this “stable majority government.”Â Many valid concerns have been raised […]