This and that for your Tuesday reading.
– Dani Rodrik discusses the growing public opposition to new corporate-dominated trade deals based on the lessons we’ve learned from previous ones: Instead of decrying people’s stupidity and ignorance in rejecting trade deals, we should try to understand why such deals lost legitimacy in the first place. I’d . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
A new report warns that the Canada-EU trade deal CETA could threaten food safety and the greater public interest. Meanwhile, a group of Germany NGOs have launched a massive constitutional lawsuit against the deal. The post Canada-EU trade deal CETA a m… . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Canada-EU trade deal CETA a major threat food safety: Report
Donald Trump’s scary lead in the Republican nominee race led Ms Soapbox to wonder whether The Donald’s promise to Make America Great Again! with a mishmash of protectionist, racist ideas grafted to a fiscally conservative and socially conservative platform would … Continue reading → . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: Let’s Make Alberta Great Again: Elect Donald Trump!
Thursday, January 28, 2016 Earlier this month TransCanada announced that it would be claiming comp… . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: TransCanada’s NAFTA claims are based on the old normal
Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Joseph Stiglitz comments on how the Trans-Pacific Partnership looks to make democracy subordinate to corporate interests:The US concluded secret negotiations on what may turn out to be the worst trade agree… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links
TransCanada’s lawsuit against the US over President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline reminds us how many of our rights free trade agreements give away, says 350.org. The post 350.org Responds to TransCanada’s NAFTA Lawsuit over Keystone… . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: 350.org Responds to TransCanada’s NAFTA Lawsuit over Keystone XL
With an agreement reached on the Trans Pacific Partnership, the 12-member trade and investment treaty, opinions began swirling about what the deal means for the future of Canada. Plenty of facts have been bandied about in an effort to clarify the TPP’s significance: 12 Pacific Rim countries, 800 million people, 36 percent of global GDP . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Some missing elements from the Canadian TPP debate
It is likely the Liberal government under Justin Trudeau will like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) almost as much as the Conservatives under What’s His Name.
So it’s probably a waste
In an earlier post, I sought to explain (not necessarily defend) the Mulcair team’s decision to run balanced budgets as an election campaign tactic to counter being branded by the Conservatives (and potentially the Liberals)as a profligate manager of the public purse. Whether or not this tactic is successful will ultimately reflect in the October . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Election 2015: An Escape Hatch for the NDP?
The following is critical to understand – for the people of Canada, the US, Europe and the world: “free trade” deals such those already signed (NAFTA), and those being pushed through with great secrecy now (CETA, TTIP and TPP), are agreements which grant supra-national powers to transnational corporations, powers over and above democratically elected governments, . . . → Read More: Writings of J. Todd Ring: Free Trade, CETA, TPP, and the US and Canadian Federal Elections: Some Critical Perspective
This and that for your Thursday reading.
– Jim Stanford discusses how the Trans-Pacific Partnership is renegotiating NAFTA – and taking away what little Canada salvaged in that deal. And Jared Bernstein highlights the TPP’s impact on prescription drug costs.
– Rick Smith rightly challenges the effort some people have made to minimize the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
For years, trade and justice activists have proposed renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement to address some of the deal’s most damaging features: for example, by removing the anti-democratic investor-state dispute settlement provisions of Chapter 11, linking trade benefits to genuine protections for human and labour rights (all the more important given the deteriorating . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: TPP: Renegotiating NAFTA, By the Back Door
“There is always a storm. There is always rain. Some experience it. Some live through it. And others are made from it.” Author Shannon L. Alder
Recently NDP candidate and former Saskatchewan finance minister, Andrew Thomson, stated on Power and Politics, that cuts were inevitable, in order to balance the budget.
In Saskatchewan, he cut funding to education, though it still didn’t balance the books. He had to take money from the province’s contingency fund, including almost a half million dollars for advertising, that he had balanced the books, when in fact, he had not.
Hiding deficits for politicians is not uncommon. Jim Flaherty did it in Ontario and Joe Oliver is doing it now.
But in defence of Thomson, Flaherty and Oliver; we have become the enablers of their addiction to the high of being good economic managers. They had to hide their red eyes and red ink, so they didn’t have to come before us in shame, or ruin their chance for re-election.
The question we need to be asking ourselves, is why balanced budgets are so important. Does it really matter if the federal government runs a deficit?
Political consultant and commentator, Will McMartin, discussed this recently in the Tyee. He begins with the announcement that the Conservatives would present a balanced budget. However, he implies, so what?
A closer look at the country’s finances, however, raises a simple question: why all the fuss? The budget is a thin slice of the Canadian economic pie, and interest costs on our debt are shrinking to near-giveaway size. Ottawa is just one of three government levels, and taken as a whole our government spending is very much under control.
The federal budget represents just 15% of our overall economy.
The Blame Game
There has been a lot of debate recently, over what political party is responsible for our perceived debt/deficit “mess”. Since only Conservatives and Liberals have ever formed government, it narrows the debate down to those two.
The biggest targets are Brian Mulroney and Pierre Trudeau. However, John Diefenbaker, also ran consecutive deficits, but that is not how their legacies should be judged.
Diefenbaker was a visionary, who fought for a united Canada. He gave us the Canadian Bill of Rights and stood up to the Americans, who wanted us to join their missile defence program. He may have made mistakes, but his deficits were created in part, by a new universal hospitalization program, and an enhanced Old Age Security.
Lester Pearson also left a deficit, but what defines him, are the many contributions he made. He expanded Diefenbaker’s hospitalization plan, to give us universal health care and introduced student loans and the Canada Pension Plan. He also created the Order of Canada, and moved toward abolishing capital punishment.
There’s no denying what Pierre Trudeau did to move our country forward, as he also expanded social programs, and created a more just society, with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Even Brian Mulroney, whose tenure was mired in corruption, left his mark on making Canada a better country. He created eight new national parks, finalized the U.S.-Canada acid rain treaty, and brought in the Environmental Protection Act.
He is also credited with giving us NAFTA, not necessarily a good thing, but it did help Canada in the short term.
All of these men were big idea guys, who had the courage to make things happen.
Diefenbaker’s idea: a united Canada with a focus on human rights.
Pearson’s: nation building and making Canada a diplomatic player on the international stage.
Trudeau’s: nation building with a focus on rights and freedoms, and an inclusive society.
Mulroney’s:, a desire to bring Canada into the 21st century, with a focus on business and international trade.
Who cares if they left deficits when those deficits represented only 15% of our GDP? Look at what we got in return?
I know that a lot of people are critical of NAFTA. I’m one of them. Not only did it hurt our manufacturing sector, but it has forced subsequent governments to adopt programs of deregulation, to meet the terms. Unfortunately, more deregulation may be required, since we are now the country most sued, for not meeting our nefarious commitments.
Election 2015: a Psychedelic Trip to Bizzaro-land
When Thomas Mulcair was the environment minister in Quebec, and wanted to privatize water, shipping it in bulk, he said that “the environmental laws protecting water are considered barriers to trade.” (The Press, Charles Cote and Mario Clouthier, June 16, 2004 ). Mulcair helped to draft NAFTA.
Everything has become a “barrier to trade”, that will exacerbate with even more international trade deals.
But what about the barriers to helping Canadian society? We were told that these deals would lead to economic prosperity. Where is it? I guess we should have read the fine print, that said only economic prosperity for the top 1%.
During the 2008 economic crisis, the Canadian government bailed out our banks with over 100 billion of our money. They bailed out companies, and sprinkled largesse over Conservative ridings. They built libraries and indoor soccer fields for private religious schools and set up an advertising campaign called the Canada Economic Action Plan that would have rivalled Joseph Goebbels propaganda ministry. (Yes I said it).
We found money for that, by adding to our deficit and debt. Adding it to the 15% stake in our country’s GDP. So why can’t we do the same for the Canadian people?
We need a National Housing Strategy, a National Food Program, and we need to expand our healthcare to include dental and prescription drugs. We need a subsidized tuition program, help for our seniors and our veterans, and an environmental plan that works.
Those things are not drains on our economy, but a viable way to grow our economy, that will create good, full time jobs, while reducing poverty and homelessness. We will see the value for the dollars we spend.
That suggests that it’s Mr. Trudeau whose position is in sync with the majority’s mood. The Liberal Leader has refused to rule out running a deficit, arguing he’ll have to see the extent of the “mess” the Conservatives have left in the public finances.
It is the NDP, traditionally to the left of the Liberals, who have launched the most blistering attacks on Mr. Trudeau for opening the door to running a deficit. Under Mr. Mulcair, the New Democrats have sought to allay concerns about their economic policies by insisting they will balance the books, despite the slowdown in the economy.
What an odd turn of events.
I’m glad that Trudeau is bringing the Liberal Party back to its roots, that put Canadians first. Now the NDP have to find their way back to the days of Tommy Douglas.
Many people have called me a socialist, but like Will McMartin, the author of the first piece I linked, I’m a conservative. Although actually a liberal/conservative. Common sense solutions to social problems. Grow the economy and the budget will balance itself.
Or maybe I’m just a Diefenbaker, with a dollop of Pearson and a splash of Pierre Trudeau.
Not such a bad thing to be.
. . . → Read More: Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Our Addiction to Balanced Budgets May Need an Intervention
“There is always a storm. There is always rain. Some experience it. Some live through it. And others are made from it.” Author Shannon L. Alder Recently NDP candidate and former Saskatchewan finance minister, Andrew Thomson, stated on Power and Politics, that cuts were inevitable, in order to balance the budget. In Saskatchewan, he . . . → Read More: Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Our Addiction to Balanced Budgets May Need an Intervention
On August 25, 1988; then federal Minister of the Environment, Tom McMillan, tabled Bill C-156, in the House of Commons: the Canada Water Preservation Act The reason for the bill was to give teeth to an announcement made the year before, by the Mulroney government, that they would not consider large-scale water exports from Canada. Unfortunately . . . → Read More: Pushed to the Left and Loving It: Mulcair’s Environmental Record #1: Have the NDP Sprung a Leak?
He did it. Stephen Harper dropped the writ and we’re heading into a 78 day election campaign. Oh joy!
I intend to have a real conversation with my Conservative MP, the ditzy Joan Crockatt.
I expect our conversation to go something like this:
(Dog erupts into manic barking. Mr Soapbox . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: The One Question to Ask a Conservative Candidate in This Election
Friday, July 17, 2015
We have suggested that BC's new water rates are too low – an assessment shared by the signatories to a SumofUs.org petition signed by 225,000 people. As a result, the BC government has commited to review its water rates. But with former MLA Judy Tyabji suggesting that we . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: Pricing the priceless: Why BC’s new water prices don’t violate NAFTA
Carmakers say adios to Canada as Mexico shifts into higher gear Mexico now makes more cars than Canada, a trend that’s not expected to change
By Pete Evans, CBC News Posted: Jun 15, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 15, 2015 9:31 AM ET
It’s deja vu all over again…I . . . → Read More: Left Over: Auto-Immune to Progress: Car Manufacturing Going South