Quick Note: In an effort to provide better resource material, I have begun the process of fixing any broken hyperlinks found in my articles.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Advancing the Transatlantic Agenda

By Dana Gabriel


Although there is a need for Canada to expand its trade horizons, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) currently being negotiated with the European Union (EU) appears to be based on the flawed NAFTA model. Many view it as an opportunity to decrease its trade reliance on the U.S., but it could serve to accelerate the corporate takeover of the country. The deal would exceed NAFTA in its scope and with the third round of negotiations scheduled for April 19-23 in Ottawa, there are lingering concerns regarding its lack of transparency. A Canada-EU CETA could be used to expand NAFTA, strengthen U.S.-EU economic relations and further advance the transatlantic agenda.

Some believe that the recent Canada-U.S. Agreement on Government Procurement is an important step in providing protection for future bilateral trade relations, but in the process it opens up provincial and municipal contracts to foreign corporations. Maude Barlow and Stuart Trew of the Council of Canadians criticized the Conservative government for giving up too much and receiving too little. In an collaborative article they emphasized that, “The provinces have been loath to sign the WTO's Government Procurement Agreement and did not agree to include subnational procurement in NAFTA because they could lose too much say in how public money is spent without getting any new access to the U.S. market..” They went on to say, “We believe the Buy American controversy provided Harper and the provinces, who are actively engaged in ambitious free-trade talks with Europe, with an opportunity to restructure the Canadian economy to reduce the role of our communities in setting spending priorities.” As part of the proposed CETA with Canada, one of the EU’s top objectives includes gaining access to procurement and services in areas of health, energy, water, as well as other sectors. The Canada-U.S. Buy American deal is an extension of NAFTA and has set a precedent which could further reinforce EU demands.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pacific North American Regional Integration and Control

By Dana Gabriel


U.S.-Canadian state and provincial integration is being achieved in areas of transportation, the economy, energy and the environment. With some national, trilateral and global initiatives being discredited, stalled or ineffective, it appears as if the strategy has further shifted to a regional and local level in an effort to lay the groundwork for new agreements.

In 2008, the Pacific Coast Collaborative was established between Alaska, British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington as, “a formal basis for cooperative action, a forum for leadership and information sharing, and a common voice on issues facing Pacific North America.” Some of its key priorities include action on clean energy, regional transportation, emergency management, sustainable regional economy, ocean conservation and climate change, as well as other issues. The inaugural Leaders’ Forum of the Pacific Coast Collaborative was held in Vancouver, British Colombia on February 12, 2010. It was hosted by Premier Gordon Campbell and chaired by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The meeting was also attended by Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown. Although Alaska is also a member of the group, they were not able to send a representative to the meeting. It was announced that Oregon will be hosting the next forum to be held later this year.