Nelson council right with trade deal motion
Re: Canada-European trade agreement
My appreciation goes to city councillors expressing concern for this trade deal being forced upon Canadians. Even though it may be a symbolic gesture, it’s still empowering for me.
Why don’t I like it? We already have NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), WTO (World Trade Organization) and FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas), and I see a deepening of our problems because of what I would call unsustainable economic development and the rise of mega corporations who are largely behind these trade deals. I see things like more raw logs and oil being shipped south, and now to China. How long before those resources are gone? It reminds me of Dr. Seuss’ Lorax story.
This trade deal and the others are about giving rights to corporations to migrate and do business, yet I do not see where this has helped communities become more sustainable, resilient or self sufficient, but usually quite the opposite. I might be willing to see some benefits to trade deals if, along with these corporate rights, came responsibilities to significant long term community development and well being.
I look around and see American corporations like Walmart, with disposable imported products. How do they fit into our local sustainability and what happens to their product prices when oil doubles in price again?
When I entered the job market in the 80s, there was a strong economy and Canada was much more “protectionist.” Yet our government could regulate business. Now I’d say Canada: is dominated by larger transnationals; has lost in NAFTA tribunals and forced to roll back environmental regulations; and has weakened environmental and labour regulations since the above mentioned trade agreements have been signed.
I would much prefer to see all business in Canada be Canadian owned and also have government do its job and manage business so that it serves people rather than the other way around. Norway developed its own oil reserves for the economic benefit of all Norwegians. What does Canada have? A large mess and an oil state economy.
Clearly the agreement we need with all the world right now is for drastic CO2 emissions reduction, as we are way behind and actually putting humanity at risk. In addition we need governments: to help small business; for co-ops and farmers to be successful; support community development and diversification away from resource extraction.
It’s probably easier or at least tempting to try doing business on the international level, but is it dependable for anyone or will it come crashing down as it did in 2008 on Wall Street? I put my trust in the people around me in our local communities, and not those in far away head offices. So thanks again to those city councillors for making a statement on behalf of the 99 per cent.