05) RENEGOTIATING NAFTA?
Commentary by Liz Rowley
The arrival of US President Donald Trump on the international stage, backed by an army of trade negotiators, has raised the alarm among Canadians, and with good reason.
More than half a million workers lost their jobs in manufacturing and secondary
The Canadian economy was undermined by the elimination of whole sections of work, including textiles, clothing and footwear, furniture and appliances, farm equipment, and big reductions in forestry, and in the steel and auto sectors.
In Quebec the auto assembly and parts have virtually disappeared, while in
Ontario, tens of thousands of jobs have disappeared in the parts sector, and
some in assembly with plant closures in Oshawa, Windsor, St. Thomas and St. Catharines. Auto is the beating heart of the Canadian
economy, which Donald Trump could be aiming to take out in his drive to “make
Some think that renegotiating NAFTA would improve
NAFTA contained the first Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism in its
Chapter 11, which allowed corporations to sue governments over loss of existing
and future profits. As a direct consequence,
NAFTA helped to secure massive corporate tax cuts over two decades, and put significant obstacles in the way of labour, civil and democratic rights.
NAFTA opened up communities to virtually unlimited access by multi-national
corporations like US Steel (Hamilton), Caterpillar
In the early ‘90s, progressives knew that the deal posed a great threat to
Yet efforts were made to force governments to build in protections for the environment, for Medicare, for Canadian culture, for workers. for Indigenous Peoples. But as we have seen, and as has been widely acknowledged, the safeguards added were weak and ineffective.
When Trump comes calling to renegotiate NAFTA, It will
not be to help bolster
Trump will come to re-open the Keystone XL pipeline deal, as the first of other pipelines still to come. He will advise us that climate change is a hoax, and that he will roll back Obama’s climate change commitments.
Trump will come calling to open up Medicare to
for-profit healthcare corporations who see
He will come calling to tell carmakers and investors about the right-to-work legislation and further tax cuts he plans to introduce, and the red tape he will strike down, alongside the new national infrastructure he will build to serve corporations and profit-making.
The only benefit to come from renegotiating NAFTA will go to the 1%, the owners of the biggest corporations in the world, operating in Canada, the US and Mexico.
Progressive people said NO in 1994, and we must say NO again. Fair trade, not free trade - means GET OUT OF NAFTA NOW!
Fair trade means mutually beneficial, and multi-lateral trade with all countries, and long-term credits to the developing countries and to the socialist countries. Fair trade also requires a foreign policy of peace and disarmament, investment in peaceful development, and civilian spending.
(The above article is from the January 1-31, 2017, issue of