Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Free" Trade with India, Europe, Must Acknowledge Community-Based Commerce, Culture

Now that Canada and India have formally entered into so-called "free" trade talks and the "free" trade negotiations are well underway with Europe, the time has come to bring these issues front and centre.

First of all, let's get over the idea that these talks have anything to do with "free".

We're talking about implementing the same restrictions and regulations that resulted in the Dutch being forbidden to sell wooden shoes under European trade laws.

Let's put the cards on the table. These CETA talks going on behind closed doors and the upcoming India talks need to be driven by informed, engaged Canadians, not by (pick your secretive poison - multinationals / Bilderberg / IMF / World Bank / corporate power brokers / political agendas).

NAFTA was one thing. Free trade with Mexico has certainly introduced an element of wage disparity into the mix with our trading partners. Same goes in Europe, where, they also have the eastern and Mediterranean countries where the wages have traditionally been lower.

With India, this is not an "element" of wage disparity, it is a tsunami.

I'd like to know how you can have free trade with a country that has 100s of millions of people earning less than 40 cents a day? (2004/05). It is never, ever, ever going to make sense.

I am completely in favour of fair dealing with India to the benefit of all. I am not in favour of our community newspapers and Canadian corporate newsletters (for example) getting written by writers in India who get paid $2 a day or 1 cent a word.

Ultimately, "free trade" with all sorts of countries is going to mean less freedom for Canadians. Like the Chinese company CSR Zhuzhou rolling in and trying to force the Montreal Metro to switch from rubber to steel wheels for its cars so that Zhuzhou could put in a bid on the new replacement cars contract. Just the fact that there would be any question at all about Bombardier getting the job reeks to high heaven. When you have one of the world's biggest and best rail transportation companies employing thousands of workers right in your own back yard, what insanity is going to prevail on you to change your entire plan and design to accommodate the "free" trade rights of ABC Chinese train company??? Yep, and watch this ridiculous situation fester in the courts for years to come.

Next, they'll be telling us that a local municipality can't hire a local guy to pick up the garbage. As it is currently evolving, the whole "free trade" trend (i.e. globalization), which is clearly being driven from the top down, is the direct antithesis of the grass-roots driven, eat-local, buy-local, sustainable community trend.

In order for our communities to be sustainable and viable, our communities' local nature, needs and culture must be recognized at the free trade negotiating tables.

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