Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The NAFTA CETA TILMA SPP Beyond the Borders Security Perimeter deep integration corporate globalization bunfest

 Under NAFTA, provinces retained the right to administer their own government procurement contracts as they saw fit - water, power, highways, garbage, and local cultural/environmental/job stimulus programs.
In fact most of the regulations in Canada are provincial and municipal - which rather got in the way of the federal government's ability to cede whatever the US wanted under the massive deregulation program called the SPP, because the federal government's power to do so was always constrained by the provinces' authority over those regs.

 TILMA was supposed to get around this.
TILMA is an investors' rights agreement to gut the ability of locally elected governments to enact public policy for the environment, consumer protection, health care, education, and other social services - albeit with some limitations. TILMA's job is to allow corporations to directly sue a provincial or municipal government whose laws or policies might impinge upon their profits in the event a province was seen to favour, say, Local Joe's over some competing out-of-province outfit. This was promoted under the guise of harmonizing regulations between provinces - it's always about 'harmonizing', isn't it? - but as only Alberta and BC signed on, it was not implemented across Canada.

TILMA was intended to replace the less onerous Agreement on Internal Trade, which did not allow corps to sue governments directly but only to petition another level of government to sponsor a complaint on their behalf.

Erin Weir, CPPA blog, emphasis mine:
"A month ago, Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments volunteered to be directly sued by investors under the Agreement on Internal Trade."
What, all of them?!

It is, as Weir notes, "TILMA by the backdoor", with "persons (individuals, businesses and other organizations)" able to sue for "financial penalties of up to $5 million" over public policy.

A mini NAFTA Chapter 11 for provinces. If passed next year, it will produce a considerable pre-emptive chill on any province or municipality favouring Local Joe's over ... well, anybody else looking to prevent them from doing just that.  
Weir :
"The Canadian government is simultaneously trying to negotiate similar provisions with much larger fines for investor-state disputes involving the European Union. Since the proposed Canada-Europe deal would include provincial governments, creating an investor-state dispute process encompassing provinces may help pave the way."
Yes, because the main sticking point preventing a Canada-EU free trade agreement in the past, as far as the Europeans were concerned, has been the Canadian provinces' stubborn reluctance to open up these local government procurement contracts to European corporations.

Embassy Mag on CETA :
"At the end of 2010, Canada asked for the inclusion of an investor-to-state mechanism in the deal, similar to Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement. This is a controversial provision that allows corporations to seek compensation from states if government policies hurt their business interests."
Back to Weir on the AIT :
"The press release even notes “the importance of linkages between the Agreement on Internal Trade and international trade agreements."
As TILMA was to the SPP, so the Agreement on Internal Trade will be to the Canada-EU CETA free trade agreement, if they both pass.

From the Declaration in Support of a Canada-EU Trade and Investment Agreement, signed by the 101 corporations whose participation and recommendations are apparently vastly more important than yours :
"A Canada-EU agreement will provide European companies with a gateway into the vast North American free trade area."
Currently the US-Canada Security Perimeter Beyond the Border Working Groups are also beavering away harmonizing US and Canadian regulations - also entirely out of public sight.

And voilà - the EU-NAFTA free trade zone.


Kev said...

Kim Campbell was only half right when she said elections weren't the time to discuss important issues, apparently neither is the time between them either.

CETA and TILMA will have huge impacts on virtually every area of our lives yet we are met with almost total silence.

Reading the leaked CETA draft I was struck by how many times the word transparency appeared, hell there is even was an entire section devoted to it.

So sad that they refuse to be transparent with us.

Alison said...

A new leaked CETA draft? Do you have a link for me, Kev?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Alison.
As you know, I've been party to the reporting from the Canadian trade negotiator's regular reporting. They don't want us to disclose the nature of the negotiations, but who gives a rat's ass at this point? It's moved into gloves off territory with this recent AIT bait and switch trick.

The CETA deal has all along been seen to be a 'back door' entry for the US to EU markets and this new escalation of investor rights under the AIT only confirms this concept.
With that in mind, we have to consider the notoriety of the US and and the abhorrence of its foreign policies by a large majority f the EU Parliamentarians. Therein lies our salvation.

The Canadian trade negotiator has admitted that they were surprised by the resistance of many of the EU parliamentarians (esp. the enviros) and the reticence to further the trade deal with such nasty components as the tarsands and other social and ecologically disastrous programmes.

Yes, there are the Canadian gov't -funded corporate lobbyists in favour of exploiting Canada's vast, publicly-funded infrastructure and utilities pushing their case at the EU. Yes, there are transnational corps looking to take over our natural resources. They're there in full force to push the deal through.

What I'm hearing is a strong distaste for such a trade deal with yet another lapdog of the corporatist US. (You can see how well the former UK pet has faired)
We can and should set our sites not on our slavering government lackeys but on the the EU. We should appeal to EU Parliamentarians who are sceptical and reluctant to engage in a trade deal that may benefit the EU in the short term but will only serve to further destabilize the global economy and ultimately the planetary climate if the insane support of the tarsands, coal and other dirty fuels are part of the agenda. The domestic concerns of loss of autonomy for local, social and ecological procurement will be solved consequently.

That's not to say that we shouldn't oppose and expose the latest AIT bullshit. This has to be relentlessly brought out and put to each level of government to defend.

~I tried to post earlier but lost the whole damn thing, including what I thought was a compelling argument for going straight to t he EU Parliamentarians to torpedo this.
First lesson: Always Copy your comments before signing in. Everything is deleted.
Second lesson: Your second (un-copied version) will be far less compelling than the first version. It will also be less concise. Sorry for that...

peace babies,


Kev said...

Sorry Alison not a new one but the original,I wish there was a new one
Here it is in case you don't have it

As for Europe activists over there are focusing on CETA's impact on increasing EU access to the tar sands (It's difficult to hear us referred to as the "worst climate criminals on the planet" ) and of course agriculture

Kev said...

oops here is that link


Alison said...

I had heard European negotiators were surprised to learn a company in Texas was suing the province of Ontario over its Green Energy Plan (Pickens) and that Dow Chem was also able to sue us to stop local regs resticting pesticide use for lawn care.

Thanks for all you do, Waterbaby.

Hey, Kev, thanks for that. Michael Geist also posted it.

Alison said...

Kev's link to 2009 Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic
and Trade Agreement

Also : Trade Justice Network link to November 2010 Canada-EU trade docs

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