My father and i had a nasty argument in the car coming in to work today…
He thinks that NAFTA is responsible for the Canadian economy making it out of the late 80s early 90s recession. The more recent articles and scholarship i have been reading are very critical of the agreement; implying it has unforeseen repercussions that will be crippling to both Canadian autonomy and welfare and that the conservative misrepresented the agreement when it was tabled.

Now, my father has possibly the nastiest habit when we are fighting about something that happened over 5 years ago. He says that i don’t know what i’m talking about and that only the world-reknowned economist Ms. H.T.S parrots these claims from left-wing academics who know nothing about the “real” world. My Dad is such a W.A.S.P. sometimes…

Anyways…i am going to collect a large # of NAFTA related links with the sole purpose of proving to myself that i am not making this up. That NAFTA involves long-term grants of natural resources and poses a threat to Canadian autonomy in international courts. I am POSITIVE that the water-rights cases aren’t made up. I know that most of my information is sponsored by the NDP, and even if you don’t vote NDP, they are still respectable individuals making an effort to govern the country (and Jack Layton knows infinitely better how to run a government than my father, Mr. M.C.S. who has governed – ummm…nothing).

Sometimes known as the Washington Consensus,(a) other times simply as “free trade,” this gospel has been the main American ideological export since anti-Communism (to which it is related) lost strategic relevance. It is promulgated directly through U.S. foreign policy and indirectly through multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization. Its core tenets are deregulation, privatization, “openness” (to foreign investment, to imports), unrestricted movement of capital, and lower taxes. Presented with special force to developing countries as a formula for economic management, it is also, in its fullness, a theory of how the world should be run, under American supervision. Attacking America is, therefore, attacking the theory, and attacking the theory is attacking America.

From: THE ECONOMICS OF EMPIRE , By: Finnegan, William, Harper’s Magazine, 0017789X, May2003, Vol. 306, Issue 1836

The deal we ended up with isn’t free trade at all, and hasn’t been in terms of steel, softwood lumber, all sorts of things. Whatever the Americans wanted, they got. They still feel they got access to all our water under that agreement, too. I’m a free trader, but that is not a free trade agreement.

From: ‘I WOULD DO IT AGAIN’ , Maclean’s, 00249262, 6/28/2004-7/5/2004, Vol. 117, Issue 26/27 (an interview with John Turner, the 17th Prime Minister).

In recent history, the Senate has balked at passing legislation on subjects as weighty as free trade and pension reform.

From: the abstract of All or Nothing , By: Geddes, John, Maclean’s, 00249262, 4/12/2004-4/19/2004, Vol. 117, Issue 15/16.

To be filed in the “and if we pulled this kind of gag while challenging water rights…what do you think would happen?”

The article focuses on the trade dispute involving timber exports and imports between Canada and the United States. Rarely are Canadians as angry with their American neighbours as when they are squabbling over timber. Their 20-year trade dispute might have come to an end last month, when Canada won a supposedly definitive ruling under the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ordering the United States to drop its punitive duties on Canadian softwood and refund around $4 billion already collected. But the United States refused to comply and, later in the month, won support for its stance from the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Outraged, Canada has cut off talks with the United States on the issue. American timber firms complain that Canadian rivals, who cut trees mostly from publicly owned forests, pay artificially low cutting fees that amount to an unfair subsidy. The Bush administration says it rejects the NAFTA panel’s verdict because it is based on out-of-date facts. The United States’ new ambassador to Ottawa, David Wilkins, did not help by telling Canada’s politicians to stop their “emotional tirades” and come back to the negotiating table before things descended into an all-out trade war.

From the abstract of: “Hard talk on softwood: Economist, 00130613, 9/10/2005, Vol. 376, Issue 8443.

The article i really want to quote is in the May Issue of the Walrus, but i can’t get it online and my copy is at home. It’s unfortunate i know…i will update this post soon. Nonetheless, i think 3 publications from 3 different countries critiquing, though not on my stance, is enough to prove that i am not alone in thinking the whole thing is just weird.


Most countries want the U.S. and the EU to stop “dumping” heavily subsidized agricultural products onto world markets. By flooding the markets with cheap products, American and European multinationals push down the price of commodities and force small farms in developing countries out of business. In Hong Kong, negotiators set a faraway deadline of 2013 for the elimination of export subsidies. We can only speculate on how many family farms will disappear between now and then. While no one would argue against helping out struggling farmers, the majority of these subsidies go to the powerful agribusiness sector, not to family farms.
The Ministerial Declaration calls for more restrictions on state trading enterprises like the Canadian Wheat Board. The Wheat Board enables Canadian farmers to market and sell wheat as a bloc, therefore commanding a higher return. In my opinion, the EU’s call for the complete elimination of the Wheat Board will eventually prevail. Curiously, the WTO doesn’t approve of state monopolies even though corporate monopolies appear to be fine.

From: Lefort, Jean-Yves, The Council of Canadians website.

One thought on “N.A.F.T.A.

  1. This is actually the kind of thing that the failed “anti-free-trade” “anti-globalization” movement protested about whenever there was any type of international meeting of world leaders.

    And now, with the Bush-friendly Harper government supposedly “settling” the softwood lumber dispute by allowing the U.S. to pay back only 80% of its punitive duties, don’t be surprised to see our water rights going away in the near future.

    And don’t get me started on Jack Layton and the NDP. I’m sure that he’s a nice guy and all, but he’s lost all my respect after the kind of crap his party has been pulling ever since the last federal elections were called.

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