2017-06-23 Big news on NAFTA
RE Re-negotiation of NAFTA (1994, Jan.1), triggered by the Trump Administration on May 17th, 2017:
90 day Notice, required under American law for the Administration’s negotiation of a trade deal, was given by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer
to Congress, May 17, 2017.
Re-negotiation between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada cannot begin until at minimum, 90 days after May 17 (August 18).
June 21, Trade Rep Lighthizer softened earlier statements by Trump. Trump had demanded that negotiations be completed by the end of the year. Lighthizer:
“We’re certainly not going to have a bad agreement to save time… My hope is that we can get it done by the end of the year, but there are a lot of people who think that’s completely unrealistic.”
Complication for pro-NAFTA entities: Mexico’s presidential election in July 2018. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the current front-runner in the polls, is a populist, left-wing NAFTA critic.
DEADLINE, INPUT TO CANADIAN GOVERNMENT, JULY 18th.
The Liberals succumbed to public pressure: submissions from the public will be received by Global Affairs Canada until July 18.
BTW: I think it’s important to know WHO our representatives are (e.g. the Simon Reisman story in the original NAFTA). WHO is the Director General of Global Affairs Canada? scroll down at http://sandrafinley.ca/?p=19639.
To send a submission re re-negotiation of NAFTA, the link is: a quick and easy form letter
Click on it, then partway down on the left side you’ll see “SUBJECT” and the content of the email.
You can make changes to it, or just send it the way it is.
Fill in your information and then hit the “submit” at the bottom.
– – – – – – – –
Subject: Big news on NAFTA
APPENDED, from Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians. You’ll see a link – – it’s easy to ADD YOUR WEIGHT by just clicking in. There is a deadline. July 18. And it is Big News.
As you will know, Trump has opened re-negotiation of NAFTA. From the earlier history of NAFTA and trade deals, beware the snakes.
Skip this, if you already know it: The Trade Deals are doing a number on us. (FTA = Free Trade Agreement)
Not familiar #1? NAFTA Chapter 11 (Investor-State Dispute Settlement, ISDS)
2015-01-14 FTA’s Chapter 11 Makes Canada Most-Sued Country Under Free Trade Tribunals, Huffington Post
Not familiar #2? a nasty tale. Water and the FTA.
All the drafts of the FTA included an Exemption for Water, at the insistence of Canadians. What happened? Artificial hype – – the deal HAS to be signed by midnite, or it all collapses. Convenient – – next day, people going through the text of the signed agreement cannot find the Exemption for Water. – – oh! At the 11th hour it had to be abandoned, otherwise the Americans would not sign the deal.
Simon Reisman was the chief negotiator for Canada under Conservative PM Mulroney, the men responsible for giving away the free trade Exemption on Water.
BUT THEN! Reisman addressed the Old Boys’ Club in central Canada, telling them of the riches to be had by selling water to the U.S. His words were recorded in the book, “To the Last Drop”, 1986, by Michael Keating. Keating was a Globe & Mail reporter with an international reputation for the quality of his work.
Keating put a damper – dump on the drinking and dining (celebration of the “disappeared” exemption for water?) in the club of the oligarchy. Rest assured that he subsequently suffered for his transgression, he was punished.
(I read Keating’s book when we were fighting to stop the boondoggle Meridian Dam in Saskatchewan – – because it was so obviously a boondoggle for tax-payers. (2006-04-27 Water. Wrap-up statement, Proposed Meridian Dam. Battle won.)
At the time, I hadn’t a clue about the role of a Meridian Dam in water diversion to the U.S. and the offering of “equity interests” in water. Lake Athabasca lies on the northern border of Saskatchewan, in the watershed that drains via the Mackenzie River to the Beaufort Sea. The plan is for that water to be re-directed, to flow south through a series of dams in Saskatchewan to the U.S. border, and on down into the U.S.
Earlier, the Rafferty-Alameda Dam had been rammed through without (required by law) an environmental impact assessment, by the same Conservative Government (PM Mulroney) that removed the exemption for water. We called that dam a boondoggle; it didn’t make any sense to us, at that time.
REF: 2008-02-17 Water: Highgate Dam in context of water shortages in the U.S., response to Maggie. Includes water under Free Trade Agreement, etc.
From To the Last Drop: our Chief negotiator for NAFTA, Reisman, told the Oligarchy that the balance of power on the North American continent would shift because Canada has the water resources that the U.S. wants. The infrastructure costs seem insurmountable, but the Americans want the water so badly, that they’ll cover those costs (he got that wrong – – Canadians will be paying Infrastructure costs, if all goes according to plan). He concluded: all we have to do is to —
put a meter on a tap at the 49th parallel and collect the royalties (and dividends if you are an investor) as the water flows south.
I tracked down Keating, after reading his book (mentioned) while we were fighting the Meridian Dam, because I had some questions.
Water diversions take water from one watershed and move it to another. I didn’t ask Keating about the Rafferty-Alameda, because I did not yet understand that, in addition to (talked about in the book)
- the Grand Canal to re-direct water, James Bay down through the Great Lakes to the American east (taking water from the Hudson Bay drainage basin)
- the Rocky Mountain Trench to send water to the American west (The Columbia River, in the southern part of the Trench, flows south from BC into Washington state, goes west to form most of the border between Washington and Oregon, before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The Columbia has the greatest flow of any North American river entering the Pacific Ocean.
In addition to these two diversions, there are plans to divert from the (I don’t believe it is mentioned in To the Last Drop):
- Mackenzie River, by re-directing water from Lake Athabasca in northern Saskatchewan south through a system of dams to the U.S. (diversion from Beaufort Sea Watershed).
One of Reisman’s taps at the 49th parallel, is the Rafferty-Alameda Dam. It is in place. It did not make sense to us. But it made sense to Mulroney, Reisman, and their cronies.
AND NOW! The Liberals have enlisted Mulroney’s assistance in the re-negotiation of NAFTA! 2017-06-16 Mulroney’s advice to Trudeau on NAFTA: head down and mouth shut, Globe&Mail
The Canadian Establishment and the Corporate interests south of the 49th, were salivating and still are, over the “blue gold” freed up by dropping the exemption for water in NAFTA. (Oh gee whiz! we had to do it if we wanted to get that deal.)
The outrageously expensive infrastructure (large dams, canals, etc.) to deliver the water for “equity interests” and exploitation, will be paid for by citizens. Privatize the benefits, and hand-off the costs.
You will see when you add your weight to the NAFTA resistance in Canada – – a specific “request” re water. We maintain our civility.
Not familiar #3? Recent Trade Deals will end publicly-owned, central banks (the Bank of Canada). We are to be completely dependent on the international banking cartel (interest rates 9% instead of 1%, with user fees on top of interest – – the Canada Infrastructure Bank). At a time when Canadians are to purchase $188 billion dollars of Infrastructure over a 12-year period.
Fiona McMurran wrote a good letter to Senator Pratte. (2017-06-13 Banksters & Infrastructure Spending: Letter to Senator – – once we privatize public assets, under CETA rules, we cannot reverse the privatization if it turns out to be detrimental)
IMPORT CLAUSES FROM ONE TRADE DEAL TO ANOTHER
Because the same corporates and bureaucrats are behind the “trade deals” – – be prepared, the re-negotiation of NAFTA may involve a huge push by them to get into NAFTA the same things, and more, as they are trying to get in the other trade deals.
See 2017-06-26 What attempts will be made to import clauses from other trade deals into the re-negotiated NAFTA?
Not familiar #4? Canada has to maintain percentage diversion of oil and gas to the U.S., no matter what Canadian needs might be. You will see a paragraph regarding correction of that when you add your weight.
I remember thinking at the time: God! What happened? WHO negotiated this “DEAL of a Lifetime, for Canadians”? Mexico is one of the signatories, they got a WAY BETTER deal than Canadians got.
When you read what Simon Reisman said to the Old Boys about water, you know that he was not representing the public interest of Canadians.
When you read that the Prime Minister at the time, Brian Mulroney, shortly after he was finished with politics, went to sit on the Board of ADM (Archer Daniels Midland, the big “Merchant of Grain”, people who wanted the Canadian Wheat Board GONE because it interfered with their control of food crops, people who wanted unfettered access for North American grains – – read GMO crops – – – into the European Union – – – read CETA – – – and you know the answer to WHO negotiated this “DEAL of a Lifetime, for Canadians”?
Don’t know #5? Intentions of the Corporates, article in Maclean’s Magazine. 2006-09-13 Maclean’s Magazine interview, President of the Americas for Lockheed Martin Ron Covais, Meet NAFTA 2.0
As Maude notes, more than 11,000 Canadians have signed on to voice their concerns about NAFTA.
(We are so polite. Thankfully writing to you is silent. What I’m thinking is not so polite.)
Anyhow, EVERY ONE OF OUR SIGN-ONS is important and we need more. Please help spread the word.
BTW, the Council of Canadians, coordinator of resistance to being screwed (if only by the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses), operates entirely on donations.
From: Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians Sent: June 21, 2017 Subject: Big news on NAFTA
From: Jim E.
Sent: June 26, 2017
Subject: Re: Big news on NAFTA
When Noam Chomsky spoke in Vancouver he was asked about free trade, and said it would probably be a good idea if it was really free trade.
Instead we have deals where a person can bring hundreds of items across the border to sell virtually duty free, but if you or I buy something in the US, we have to declare it at the border and pay duty.
We can’t sell our labour in the US without a green card. It’s only free trade for the rich.
We need a Tobin tax on all monetary transactions and on all trade transactions.
And we need some way to take our environmental and health laws to the United Nations when some industry decides to sue us.
I agree, Jim. That’s the way it is.
I’ll try to get typed up re: yesterday I sat in on a webinar by U.S. activists for Trade Justice, to get an idea of what they’re doing.
A woman who was a central figure in their successful effort to stop the TPP was in attendance.
It was well organized – – hands on, get stuff done.
They’re focusing on one thing: if the re-negotiated NAFTA deal has an ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) clause, they will have enough votes in Congress to vote down ratification of the new NAFTA.
Good to hear from you,
Sent: June 26, 2017
Thanks for this and all your investigative reporting . . .