NAFTA Nonsense

It was with some pleasure that I learned on Friday 31st August Canada had not succumbed to the bombastic, belligerent President of the USA and agreed in haste to the bilateral agreement between Mexico and the US.  IT is not clear to me that a bilateral agreement between the USA and Mexico within the borders of NAFTA is entirely legal, not that that would worry President Trump at all.   The fact that he would play one country against another has a familiar ring of a reality show to it and really has no place in the real world where actual peoples’ lives and wellbeing are the stakes.  Typical of him I think.

 

The complaint is that Canada has not treated the US in a fair way due to softwood lumber and our supply management system.  From my reading and understanding of NAFTA there should be no tariffs between the three countries and of course, we already know that this has been broken not only in the case of the softwood lumber but also in the steel and aluminium trade.  Clearly, this man has no idea what an agreement is and perhaps that is why I hear so often that he has defaulted on more business contracts than he has fulfilled.

 

While the USA complains that our softwood lumber is subsidized by some form of stumpage, let us also remember that the agricultural sector of the USA is heavily subsidized by their Federal government. It seems that there is an equal amount of wrongdoing here and the pot is calling the kettle black.  Concerning the supply management system, this could be amended perhaps provided that the products coming into Canada meet with Health Canada and our agriculture standards.  Health Canada, of course, will bend over backwards to the US on most issues and really needs to grow a backbone and remember that the health of the Canadian people is their priority not the health of American corporations.   For the dairy sector, it still amazes me that we are the only species on earth to drink the milk of another species and expect after it has been treated and reduced in any beneficial way that it is good for us.   Cows eat grass – we do not.  Cows’ milk is basically a bovine growth hormone designed by the creator to make calves grow faster.  Some small wonder then that we have too much obesity in our population.   There are alternatives available such as hemp milk, coconut milk and for a while before it became GMO contaminated soy milk etc., and yet these are largely ignored because the dairy lobby is too powerful and like most corporate ventures is interested in protecting their toxic products and the profits derived from them.  Real milk is, of course, illegal and those who produce it are prosecuted, while those selling pasteurized and then artificially fortified again stuff are protected.   Makes no sense to me.   When I was young we were drinking real milk with cream still within it and my immune system is fine thanks.

 

As for the lumber, we should not be exporting any lumber which is hit by a tariff and indeed here we can and should be exporting to other markets.  We send a vast amount of raw logs overseas when we should be sending finished lumber instead.  A byproduct of this would be the return of sawmills and employment that go with them. If we stopped sending lumber to the states how long would it be before their construction business came to a huge slowdown?  The idea is not to hurt the ordinary American but to send the message that a product is sold at a certain price and if that is not agreed upon then it will not be sold.  The basic rule of commerce – there must be a market and a buyer who is willing to pay the price asked for that product.

 

There were many things built into the original FTA and then accepted into NAFTA that were not good for Canada, and yet Trump in his self-righteousness forgets that we cannot reduce the percentage of any petroleum products we produce and send to the US even if we run short ourselves, nor can we increase the price of electricity across the border without both our PM and the US president agreeing to such a price increase.  This means that BC is exporting hydropower to the seven western states at the same price which was in effect when WAC Bennet was premier of BC prior to the FTA came into being.  Now, who do those two alone benefit? Certainly not Canadians.

“NAFTA

Article 605: Other Export Measures

Subject to Annex 605, a Party may adopt or maintain a restriction otherwise justified under Articles XI:2(a) or XX(g), (i) or (j) of the GATT with respect to the export of an energy or basic petrochemical good to the territory of another Party, only if:

 

  1. a) the restriction does not reduce the proportion of the total export shipments of the specific energy or basic petrochemical good made available to that other Party relative to the total supply of that good of the Party maintaining the restriction as compared to the proportion prevailing in the most recent 36month period for which data are available prior to the imposition of the measure, or in such other representative period on which the Parties may agree;

 

The Americans want to do away with the dispute mechanism and so does any Canadian who is tired of paying huge sums of their tax dollars to America corporations which see perceived profits lost because of our environment or health standard laws. This also includes Canadian companies which incorporate in Delaware because it is cheaper and gives them access to the dispute review panel – Lone Pine Power of Calgary is a perfect example of that to the tune of $250 million.  There is never an amount allotted in any budget for these tribunal awards probably because all governments want to hide them.  This government wants to keep on paying them it appears.

 

It has been my contention that ALL corporations with Canadian subsidiaries doing business in Canada, such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi or MacDonald’s, should have accounts in Canadian banks in Canada and pay taxes on their gross income before their profits are sent to the US or the Cayman Islands. Also, Nestles should not be allowed to draw as much water as they can from Hope Lake without charge and bottle it and send it south of the border in plastic bottles for profit.  Arrowhead water for Walmart. How did that come about anyway?  Is it part of NAFTA that we should give away our water for free and have it sold for profit elsewhere?

 

America’s problems do not stem from NAFTA but from their inability to control their corporations allowing them to set up manufacturing in countries where the labour costs are cheap and bringing those cheaper products back to the homeland.  The constant demand for profit for their shareholders and the need to pay obscene bonuses to their CEOs etc. demand that they cheat as much as they can and they do.   That is not a NAFTA problem it is an American corporate greed problem.

 

Now I hear that that man is tweeting again that Canada is an enemy of the US and it would appear that we are a greater threat to the US than Mexico, China, Russia and Korea combined.  If this is the way you treat a friend then I do not want to be a friend to his administration and their twitter diplomacy.  It frankly stinks of the president’s bigotry, racial and religious hatred combined with the love of an apartheid State of Israel and a grandiose assumption that he can do no wrong and everyone else is at fault.   What a way to rule a country.

 

Do we really think that those Americans without a job, without a roof over their heads and no money for food for themselves or their family think he, a fat cat with no shortage of wealth, pomp and grandiosity is serving them well?

 

Bring on the peaceful revolution.

 

Cancel NAFTA too. 

 

Give him his wish and let’s charge what we need for our products.

 

Now I learn that this egotistical, racist, bigot is telling Canadians what is and is not of political importance to us.  Perhaps he should spend more time looking in the mirror instead of pouting at the cameras.  His efforts to create strife amongst his allies could just cause us to tell him where to go unless of course, the apartheid State of Israel tells us not to !!!!!

What are the NATO Allies and their USA beholden friends trying to hide?

 

27th March 2018

An ex-Russian/British spy –  Sergei Skripal – has been living in the UK since his “retirement” and spy swap out of Russia.

He had become a part of the community of the delightful cathedral city of Salisbury in Wiltshire. Apparently well liked by his fellows there and a volunteer when needed to help others.  A regular fellow whose daughter came to visit from Russia whenever she could, and she too was known and liked.

Then on one such visit, they are both given a nerve gas and through quick action of the people of Salisbury are in hospital but not yet dead.

Immediately, or almost as quickly as Bush determined that America had been attacked by Bin Laden, the Russians were accused as the nerve gas was identified as one they were thought to have developed years ago. 

Simple right, Russian nerve gas from years ago so it must be them.

Why not the MI6 or even more likely the CIA?    But really the bigger question is why and why now?

The timing of this whole affair and the reaction to it came at a time of political elections in Russia and could have caused a lesser man than Putin some problems in his re-election.  Now, who do we know who has interfered with so many foreign elections, coups, installation of puppet dictators, destruction of countries, and the deaths of millions of civilians?  (In the case of Libya we could add the murder of their leader and the US Ambassador by out of control mercenaries). Who is so paranoid that maybe their elections are more than simply exchanges of money for the chance to be puppets in the government, but who could also be panicked by the thought that they could be affected in the same way they as do to other countries around the world?

So maybe that was one reason.

Why now?

Maybe that reason could be that the UK is trying to hide something from the world and what better way to do it than accuse the Russians of trying to kill someone in the UK causing deflection and getting international condemnation.   What have you done there in the UK that would merit such an action?

Just as in the case of the attacks on 9-11, and all the “false flags” since this one makes absolutely no sense to any thinking person.

Why would the Russians be soo stupid as to use a nerve gas that could perhaps be traced back to them?  Are they really that naïve?  Why would they want these two dead anyway? What did they have to gain?   Or wait, who did have something to gain?

Then there is the question of why all the allies are joining in the deportation of Russian diplomats they classify as spies. There is a sort of hysterical lemming like action here that bothers me.  Oh, I understand why Canada is doing it because our Foreign Minister hates Russia with a passion that comes from her Ukrainian heritage and she really is not the person for that job. But anyway here is an excuse for her to flex some muscle at a country (to which she has been made persona no grata) over an affair that has nothing to do with us at all, is completely unproven that Russia was responsible, and for which we as Canadians are being aligned with copycat, subordinate fruitcakes.

Shame on this “sunny days and sunny ways” government for jumping on an hysterical bandwagon.

What next Trudeau, will you challenge Putin to an arm wrestle?

Jeremy

 

 

TPP, CETA, TiSA yet again

26th September 2016

To the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,

Prime Minister of Canada.

Concerning: CETA, TPP and TiSA.

I have written now nine times to your Minster of Trade concerning one or all of these investment agreements and have received no response from her at all, and am therefore writing directly to you. As a Canadian I am somewhat miffed by this lack of response and as the interim Leader of the Canadian Action Party I am disgusted by the discourtesy of a highly paid member of your Cabinet.

Over the years Canada has been an exporter of a huge variety of items, from wheat to beef and pork, all manner of natural resources and innovation. We did not need special agreements – we simply did it. Mulroney’s FTA and the offshoot NAFTA changed all that with respect to Mexico and the USA and made trade more about corporate profits and their protection. During Jean Chretien’s time trade boomed because it was done on a personal and direct basis, with him going overseas with Canadian business men/women in tow talking directly to overseas counterparts. Did it work? Oh yes it did, we had a healthy surplus in trade in 2006.

Then came the era of destruction when everything from parliament to sovereignty and the rule of law was under severe attack, and the dark era of investment agreements disguised as and called trade agreements took place. Every one of them had within it an investor state dispute mechanism which had nothing to do with trade at all, but everything to do with protecting the perceived profits of corporations from those other countries.

Has this process worked? Well, we now have a huge trade deficit and have been taken before a corporate dispute tribunal more than any other country in the world. The reality or legality of the claims is immaterial as shown in the case of Abitibi Bowater. They had water and timber rights granted in the early 1900s by Newfoundland and Labrador for as long as they had an operating mill there employing Canadians. When they closed their last mill in 2008 those timber and water rights were taken back by the province as the conditions for those rights were no longer being fulfilled. The Harper Government of the time did not let the NAFTA claim go to arbitration but instead simply and quietly paid Abitibi Bowater $130 million rather than fight such a ridiculous claim and by this action deliberately opened the floodgates.

Worse yet is the fact that Canadian based companies such as Lone Pine Power of Calgary saw the advantage of incorporation in Delaware USA and when their intention to frack and drill in the St Lawrence River was rejected by Quebec because, among other things, a proper environmental study had not been done, Lone Pine Power lodged a tribunal claim against Canada for $250 million for perceived lost profits

Where exactly does trade fit into this picture?

Your Minister is so excited that CETA – which she erroneously called “a gold plated trade deal” – is not dead as it should be but has been resuscitated by the creation of a new court to deal with perceived profit loss disputes. I have asked for details of this new court such as where it will be based, who will provide the judges and lawyers and under what jurisprudence and at what cost to Canada, because we always seem to end up paying for these things , and how it will affect our court system and will that new court overrule our Supreme Court. I have, as usual, received not one word in answer, nor can I find answers on the Ministry of Trade website.

Perhaps you can tell me.

My understanding is that the Germans are not too happy about this new CETA court and rightly ask the same questions as to how it will affect their court system. The American equivalent of CETA (TTIP) is apparently dead so why is your Trade Minster and indeed the Government of Canada pursuing CETA instead of a real “trade” agreement?

Both CETA, the TPP and TiSA are extensions of Stephen Harper’s desire to subjugate Canada to the profits of international corporations. The Harper government was mercifully rejected and an ungrateful nation will now reward him for his treasonous behaviour with millions of dollars instead of a gold watch as he has quit his MP job to become a lobbyist; not of the Federal government I trust, as that would be contrary to the Lobbying Act.

The question, Prime Minister, is why are you and your Trade Minister continuing with these Harper government perfidious investment agreements, and where exactly is your mandate to turn our ability to make laws and regulations to protect both Canada and Canadians from corporate greed into an inability to do so, thereby destroying any sovereignty left after Harper? I actually think you were granted a mandate to scrap them along with Bill C51.

I have to tell you also Prime Minister that sunny ways and sunny days have turned to very dark and turbulent skies on this file and I am very fearful for my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I did not come to Canada in 1967 to raise a Canadian branch of the family here in BC only to have them subjected to the greedy whims of some CEO somewhere in the world while their country, Canada, has its sovereignty given over to international corporate interests.

Canada is soo much better than that.

Jeremy Arney

Interim leader of the Canadian Action Party

 

cc by mail to:

Minister of Trade, Minister of Justice and Minister of Foreign Affairs.