Current Activity Updates (2007)
December 11, 2007
The Wrong Trade Deal With The Wrong Government
Send a message to your Member of Parliament and the Trade Minister telling them the Canada-Colombia trade deal is dangerous and must not be adopted without explicit Parliamentary approval.
The Make Poverty History website is urging people to take action. Follow the links below to get involved.
November 29, 2007
Stop the Canada-Colombia trade talks – NOW!
On November 29th at mid-day hundreds of chanting trade unionists and other concerned Canadians marched in downtown Toronto to denounce the secretive free trade negotiations between Canada and Colombia. This rally was sponsored by the Ontario Federation of Labour and it called on the Prime Minister to suspend the Colombia trade talks NOW, to provide for a full debate NOW, and to put human rights first while adopting a new approach to trade that will make peoples lives better – NOW!
Marie Clarke Walker, Executive Vice President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), spoke to the marchers in front of the U.S. Consulate on University Avenue. Ms. Walker told the crowd that Colombia is the country where more trade unionists are killed than in the rest of the world combined, and that during the term of Colombia’s current President, Alvaro Uribe Velez, 560 union officers and members have been brutally and systematically murdered. Virtually all these crimes remain unsolved.
November 27, 2007
Canada should stop trade negotiations with Colombia
The Canadian government urgently needs to halt free trade negotiations with Colombia. It is the wrong deal with the wrong country - a deal that will only serve to benefit large transnational corporations while deepening the divide between rich and poor, in a land where violence and impunity are the rule.
November 21, 2007
"Cease free trade talks with Colombia and Peru" - Delegation demands
On November 20, the four people who appear in the photo at right held a press conference on Parliament Hill to demand that the Harper Government cease the free trade talks with Colombia and Peru immediately. (Photo credit: Canadian Labour Congress)
From Left to Right the people are:
* Bishop Juan Alberto Cardona, leader of the Methodist Church of Colombia
* Rick Arnold - Common Frontiers
* Gauri Sreenivasan - Canadian Council for International Cooperation
* Steve Benedict - Canadian Labour Congress
Some excerpts from the press conference:
Bishop Cardona: "If Canada were to assess the real impact of a trade deal on the lives of Colombians, I believe it would change its mind on the advisability of continuing negotiations."
"The government of Colombia is desperate for a deal with Canada - it's like a stamp of approval. But we say, stop the killing of innocent Colombians, disarm the paramilitaries, and protect human rights before any deals are made."
Steve Benedict: "Why did Canadian negotiators ask their Colombian counterparts to withhold the content of the labour texts, especially from Canadian unions and NGOs? The issues raised by these talks are too important to exclude Canadians from the discussion."
Rick Arnold: "We are calling on the Canadian government to halt these negotiations with Colombia. It is the wrong deal with the wrong country - a deal that will benefit transnational corporations while deepening the divide between rich and poor, in a land where violence and impunity are the rule."
"By going down this road the Canadian government risks garnering significant international disapproval. Further trade talks with Colombia should wait for full public discussion and Parliamentary debate, and for a human rights impact assessment to be held."
November 08, 2007
Why a Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement is a Big Mistake
“Colombia’s current government is accused of corruption, links to paramilitary death squads, drug traffickers, and state sanctioned impunity for crimes committed, yet, the Canadian government has chosen to ignore this, in the interests of signing a trade deal.”
First announced in June of this year, the Canadian government has put 'free trade' negotiations with Colombia on overdrive while keeping them away from public scrutiny. There are some official expectations that a deal can be concluded by the end of this month.
The Canadian Labour Congress invites you to send a Sign–on letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to express your view on this matter.
You can either sign onto this letter or write one of your own. Please click on the link above to sign and forward to others after.
Canada should not be trading away respect for human rights at home or abroad.
October 10, 2007
Lessons from NAFTA
Building a New Fair Trade Agenda
October 22-23, Minneapolis, MN
In January, the final provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) go into affect. Nearly 14 years since NAFTA’s ratification, the trade agreement that has served as blueprint for U.S. trade and investment is still as controversial as ever.
Though NAFTA was supposed to improve border relations, it has played a major role in increased Mexican immigration to the United States; it has allowed corporations to sue nation-states, giving big businesses more power than ever; it has led to environmental degradation that needs real solutions.
Join activists, researchers and policymakers from the U.S., Canada and Mexico to review how NAFTA has changed all three countries, learn about efforts to expand NAFTA, and exchange ideas on a new fair trade agenda.
Hosted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). Common Frontiers is one of the sponsoring groups.
- For more information, visit the website at http://events.iatp.org
September 11, 2007
Energy workers respond to SPP Energy Agenda
On August 18, 2007 energy workers from Mexico, the United States, Canada and Quebec together with the Four North American networks fighting NAFTA and the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) met in Montreal. The participating organizations were meeting at the time of the Montebello SPP summit that links Canada, Mexico and the US in a new political and economic framework for continental integration based on the security agenda of the George Bush presidency. This SPP agenda has the complicity of President Calderon and Prime Minister Harper, but has no democratic mandate from the people of those three countries.
Energy unions and worker organizations share the concerns of popular sector movements that the SPP is a new and powerful instrument created by government and corporate elites to shape the destinies of our nations without democratic participation or oversight. We reject the security agenda of the SPP which links NAFTA and trade to the limiting of civil liberties, mass surveillance, racial profiling and the failed and disastrous military and foreign policies of George W. Bush. We challenge the neo-liberal assumptions of prosperity which have led to increasing disparities of wealth and power in each of our countries.
However, as energy workers we are compelled first of all to respond to the SPP energy agenda.
On the Security and Prosperity Partnership
Leaders' Summit in Montebello
Sunday August 19, 2007 @ 4 pm
Marion Hall, 140 Louis Pasteur,
University of Ottawa
Come and find out what they are not telling you
Security and Prosperity for whom?
Get to the truth about the SPP
A 4-part series of downloadable, educational Fact Sheets
(English fact sheets updated June 5, 2007)
Common Frontiers announces a new resource to help cut through the spin and clutter around the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) - a "next generation" trade deal involving Canada, Mexico and the US. These four fact sheets dig into background issues related to the secretive SPP. They are designed for use with an organization’s members who may not know a lot about Canada’s "free trade" agenda. The fact sheets also can be used as informational hand-outs at meetings/rallies.
Four fact sheets are now available for free downloads in English and French.
- Free Trade at the Crossroads – What’s up with NAFTA, TILMA and other ‘free trade’ deals that Canada is currently promoting?
- Integration by Stealth – Unpacking the secretive SPP
- SPP and Petroleum - Uncovering the real purpose of the SPP in mobilizing Mexican and Canadian energy resources to enhance US ‘security’.
- Alternatives to Free Trade: Thinking Outside the Box – This is what alternative trade and regional solidarity looks like!
Each fact sheet also has a What you can do section suggesting additional web sites for further learning.
The fact sheets are available in two formats, both as downloadable .pdf files. (Adobe Reader required) One is a conventional 4 page document suitable for printing on letter-sized paper. The other is formatted to be printed on both sides of an 11”X17” piece of paper which can be folded to create a 4 page booklet.
Update -- Presentation from IntegrateThis now available:
The North American Competitiveness Council: A corporate coup d'etat
Notes from an address re. the SPP: The Big Business of Insecurity
By John W. Foster for Common Frontiers
Photos from the
Integrate This! conference
Between March 30 to April 1 over 1,400 people from 3 countries (Mexico, US, and Canada) participated in the Ottawa, Canada conference Integrate This! Challenging the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America.
This represented the first major gathering of popular movements opposed to the SPP corporate-government trade and security pact. A fight-back campaign was launched along with the sharing of alternative visions for a people's integration agenda.
February 18, 2007
Challenging the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America
This "teach-in" will be a chance to discuss an important issue our government wants to keep under wraps: continental economic and security integration. The gathering, being held March 30 to April 1, 2007, is sponsored by the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Canadian Labour Congress and will be held at Ottawa Technical High School in Ottawa.
Integrate This! will bring together activists, academics, workers, politicians and journalists from Canada, Mexico and the United States to challenge the big-business vision of North American integration contained in the Security and Prosperity Partnership – a vision that has yet to be debated anywhere but which will have major impacts on citizens across the continent.
January 29, 2007
REPORT BACK FROM THE SOCIAL SUMMIT
IN COCHABAMBA - BOLIVIA
Feb 15 IN TORONTO
Hear from Canadians who attended the Social Summit of the Community of American Nations in Bolivia in December. Discuss the latest developments in Bolivia and throughout Latin America.
Presentation and Discussion with
Judy Rebick, Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy
Carlos Torres, Centre for Social Justice
John Dillon, Common Frontiers
Thursday, February 15th, 2007
6:30pm to 8:30pm
489 College Street, Suite 302
January 24, 2007
Bolivia’s Government Faces
Popular forces struggle for unity against attacks
Evo Morales just celebrated his first anniversary as president of Bolivia. Despite many accomplishments by his government, it now faces a potentially destabilizing right-wing offensive, while Popular forces struggle for unity against a growing number of attacks .
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