Sunday, July 21, 2024

Environmental or Social Costs of Trade Deals Remain Ours to Pay For

Letter to the Editor

Editor,

In the April 28, 2016 issue of the Independent, Editor Stephen Vance laments the increase in crime in our communities and looks at the causes as he sees them.

Not much to argue about: loss of decent jobs, declining wages, and resulting consequences such as assaults and domestic disturbances. He nails it in this paragraph, quote: “This is where our economy has been heading for a few decades now. Gone are the solid, secure, well-paying manufacturing jobs, and instead we’ve got low-paying precarious service jobs that don’t provide enough hours or income to provide a decent living.” End of quote.

There was another piece in another newspaper recently, telling us that outside Owen Sound, in Grey and Bruce counties, the only manufacturing plant left is CARFRAMO in Wiarton. Gone are the factories such as INTERFOREST in Durham, the shoe factory in Markdale, the furniture makers in the Chesley area. Look at our small towns right across Canada and see the empty storefronts and growth industries such as the food banks.

Could it be possible that the much touted FREE TRADE AGREEMENT with the U.S. and Mexico has something to do with it? Did the FTA open the floodgates for industry to relocate to jurisdictions without fair labour laws and little environmental protection?

Did it also make it possible for foreign corporate conglomerates to buy, take over or whatever you want to call it, our basic utilities that made us a SOVEREIGN country, such as our railways, CN and CP. Air Canada, Petrocan, the Canadian Wheatboard. The 407 toll highway is owned by someone in India. Sudbury’s nickel deposits are owned by a South American corporation, Hamilton’s steel works have been bought by U.S. interests, who are closing the Canadian plants and are weaseling out of pension obligations Canadian workers have earned over decades.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. What it means for Canadians, is that the profits generated by these, now foreign corporations, go offshore. Investment decisions are no longer made in the best interests of Canadians, they are made to maximize the profits for the foreign owners, who only pay the taxes they cannot avoid, with offshore tax havens created by accountants that have found ways to outsmart our politicians.

However, be assured that any environmental or social costs remain ours to pay for. It is so bad, that these foreign corporations have the RIGHT under the FTA to sue our government for damages, IF our governments pass environmental or labour laws that impact on the profitability of these foreign corporations.

Welcome to CANADA INC.

Yes Mr. Editor, you correctly identified the consequences of the FTA for the average Canadian.

Sincerely,

Karl Braeker, Meaford

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