Thursday, 24 September 2015

Citizens Against CETA to Participate in Days of Action Against CETA

We teamed up with the St. John's chapter of the Council of Canadians to make this video to bring CETA -- and the considerable European grassroots opposition to it (2.7 million and counting petition signatures) -- back to the limelight in an election race that's mostly ignored the issue.

Citizens Against CETA is joining with other local groups and activists across the country in days of action against CETA. Sept 25 and 26 take action to spread awareness about the downsides to CETA (i.e., weakening environmental policies, making it easier for corporations to sue governments for loss of profits, allowing the privatization of public services, bypassing local democracies).

Visit the Council of Canadians website to learn more about how to take action:

------- Below is A selection of our article published in the Independent! 

There is near silence on what is probably the number one problem facing young people today — finding a decent job.

According to a 2015 report by theCanadian Labour Congress, “nearly three quarters of the jobs created in Canada over the past six years have been precarious —- part-time, temporary, or in the self-employed sector,” and upward of “a million Canadians have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet.”

Canadian Association of University Teachers President Robin Vose said last year that the fact that more than one third of post-secondary instructional staff are now casual labourers “is a societal problem.”

Then there’s underemployment.

2014 report published by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers found that “only about 30 per cent of employed individuals in Ontario who held a Bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering were working as engineers or engineering managers.” 

As for unemployment, Statistics Canada reported that at the end of 2014 for every job vacancy in Canada there were five people looking for work.

Could the root causes of our increasingly dismal employment landscape have something to do with another issue our three major parties are choosing to ignore?

Free Trade and the Loss of Local Jobs

The best example of how free trade has led to job losses comes from the automobile industry.
Back in 1965 Canada and the U.S. negotiated a free trade deal called the Canada—United States Automotive Products Agreement, a central and highly successful tenet of which was that automotive production levels be proportionally maintained in Canada. By 1980 the “Auto Pact” was responsible for the creation of 100,000 automotive jobs in Canada and at least as many more in supporting industries.

Everything changed with the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA allowed cars produced in Mexico—where labour costs were much lower—to be sold in Canada free of import taxes or tariffs. Gone was the proviso that production levels had to be maintained in Canada. Delighted auto manufacturers began closing their Canadian plants and relocating to Mexico where they could earn bigger profits.

The massive Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently being negotiated with Pacific Rim countries and will further pressure both Canada the U.S. to open up tariff-free markets for car imports. If North American car producers relocate as a result of the increased competition these cheaper imports will create, the economic impact would be severe. Automotive sales—almost entirely to the U.S.—are still our second biggest export, after oil.

Of course, Canada’s automobile industry isn’t the only one that has been hit hard by tariff reduction. Unable to compete with cheap imports, a significant number of Canadian manufacturing and hi-tech companies have either shut down or relocated abroad.

Attempts to build new industries to replace those that have disappeared are proving difficult for governments. When Ontario put a feed-in tariff on wind projects that didn’t have a 25 per cent made-in-Ontario component, the WTO sided with the EU and Japan by ruling these tariffs were unfair. Government intervention in the marketplace to help stimulate job and industry growth doesn’t fit with mainstream economics’ neoliberal obsession with free trade.

Read the full article on The Independent: