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Wednesday, 13 November 2013 16:23

Harper didn’t learn from NAFTA

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Seeing how Stephen Harper is otherwise occupied, it is not surprising his western gunslinger, Gerry Ritz, is out stomping the hinterland promoting the latest free trade agreement with Europe (CETA) and telling us how good it is.

Well, all is not as it seems. For one thing, Canadian and EU tariffs are already low and we run a trade deficit with the EU. CETA will lower the tariffs and regulatory barriers which mean we will now run an even higher trade deficit. It is also estimated we will lose up to 150,000 jobs as well.
Does this sound like a good deal?
In any case, “free trade” deals were never about cheaper goods and increased export opportunities. Those things were just the sweeteners to cover up the darker heart contained in this typical Conservative candy.
You see, by abolishing border barriers, it allows the Conservative’s corporate friends to move their operations away from countries such as Canada that have unionized labour, to countries that have low wage labour forces. And it still allows such corporations to sell freely back into the countries the corporations had abandoned.
It doesn’t end there. Agreements such as NAFTA and CETA also contain clauses effectively limiting our democratically-elected representatives from passing any regulations or taxes that would negatively impact corporate profits. In the era of climate change, you can well imagine how that handcuffs any anti-pollution strategy.
To reinforce the corporate advantage, NAFTA and CETA also contain provisions that set up investor-state dispute tribunals. These tribunals effectively by-pass our long established court system and are unaccountable to our elected governments.
Free trade fits right in with all the other Harperite policies such as enhancing corporate economic rights, corporate welfare, and massive corporate tax cuts.
Is there no limit to what the Harperites will do?
Tom Shelstad, Swift Current

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