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14 April 2009 - 10:12am OTTAWA--The Green Party of Canada has consistently called for renegotiation of Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying that this part of the agreement is detrimental to Canadian interests and exists solely for corporate profits. The latest threat is to increasingly popular cosmetic pesticide bans, now enacted in Quebec and Ontario, which the chemical companies say are cutting into their profits. Chemical giant Dow AgroSciences is now filing under NAFTA for loss of profit of $2 million due to Canadian pesticide bans. “Laws put in place to protect the health and safety of Canadians are at risk whenever a corporation based in the US loses profits. Chapter 11 of NAFTA operates to give US and Mexican corporations the right to sue the Canadian government for any decision impacting its profits, regardless of the scientific evidence supporting our decision. The investor-state provisions of NAFTA are profoundly anti-democratic," says Green Leader Elizabeth May. “It is very evident that this flawed trade agreement must be renegotiated.” Problems with Chapter 11 of NAFTA have been apparent for more than a decade. The Canadian law restricting the use of MMT, a neuro-toxic gas additive made by Ethyl Corp. of Richmond, Virginia, was repealed in an out of court settlement by Canada in a NAFTA suit in which Canada also paid out $13-million to Ethyl Corp. Canada also was forced in a Chapter 11 suit to pay millions to Ohio-based S.D. Myers for a short term ban on the export of PCB contaminated waste. Mexico has also lost suits brought by large US polluters.
The Green Party is the only party who recognizes that the NATO mission is ill-conceived and doomed to failure. We are the only party to advocate remaining in Afghanistan by asking for a UN peace-keeping mission to avoid a humanitarian crisis. We are the only party that recognizes the need for poppy production to sustain the agriculture economy in Afghanistan. We favour legalizing and regulating poppy production to supply pain relieving drugs to developing countries.
The Green Party is the only opposition party to have tabled our deficit cutting plan with the Parliamentary Budget Office, to ensure we did our homework and our numbers will hold.
Power is increasingly centralized. Individual MPs – your voices in Parliament – are becoming more and more irrelevant. Question Period is a daily showcase for behaviour we would not tolerate from our children. It’s time to restore true democracy and put the power where it belongs – in the hands of Canadians.
> Reform our voting system. Hold a national discussion on the health of our democracy, address the growing and undemocratic power of the Prime Minister’s Office and explore the options for a more meaningful electoral system. Consider the risks of “first past the post” and vote on whether it should be replaced. Consider proportional representation.
> Access to information. Seek true solutions to the increasing corporate control in Canadian journalism. Whatever is “dumbed down” must be “smartened up.”
> Ensure that citizenship is equal. Social justice and equity are cornerstones of democracy. Canadian democracy is more secure when human rights are respected – starting with the First Nations and indigenous peoples of this continent, Turtle Island. Canada must move forward in implementing the spirit of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.