Corporate rights under serious scrutiny in Europe. Canada fast asleep.

by Blair Redlin ·February 4th, 2014.  On Feb. 3rd, I made a presentation in Vancouver to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade on the proposed Canada/E.U. trade deal (C.E.T.A.). I was there on behalf of CUPE B.C.
The Committee, chaired by Alberta Conservative M.P. Rob Merrifield, was in B.C. to review both C.E.T.A. and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (T.P.P.)

France says investor-state provision not needed in TTIP

Agence Europe reports, "France believes that a state to state dispute settlement mechanism is enough under the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP). ...France 'is not in favour' of including in the agreement a settlement mechanism for disputes between the investor and state, as (French minister for trade Nicole) Bricq believes that a state to state dispute mechanism 'is enough'. France is not alone on this issue - Germany is also 'very reluctant', Bricq says."
Photo: French trade minister Nicole Bricq. Photo from SIPA.

The news report also says, "Bricq welcomed the (European) Commission's initiatives to ensure more transparency in the negotiations via a consultative experts' group at the European level and the launch of a public consultation on the protection of investments."

Autosaurus Rex: A story of dinosaurs

Should a CBC radio and television commentator be accepting speaking fees for pro-Tar Sands speeches on the side without publicly disclosing the financial conflict of interest to viewers? Should a national newspaper consider--let alone sign--a strategic partnership with the oil industry (a.k.a. Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) to produce content? Would such a move render the paper a non-news organization? Should it?

These two stories emerged over the last week and received almost no attention in the media. There has to be a better explanation than Olympic coverage eating up air time.

We’re all familiar with the National Post’s ‘tendencies’ (sorry Terrence) so I wasn’t overly shocked with the latter. But I have to say I was taken aback by the news about Rex Murphy.

Investor-State: Infinito Gold files lawsuit against Costa Rican government over canceled gold mining contract

Zach Dyer. The Tico Times Feb 10.   After months of saber rattling, Infinito Gold, Ltd. announced Monday that it had filed for a Request for Arbitration with a World Bank court in its protracted dispute with the Costa Rican government over the canceled Las Crucitas gold mining concession. The concession was revoked in 2010 following environmental concerns and doubts about the concession’s legality. 

TNI Insights into the Power of Corporations (re Corporate impunity, Lex Mercatoria, FTAs, Global Redesign Initiative & Alternatives )

22 January 2014,Brid Brennan.  Transnational corporations, particularly gas & oil industry, and banking have continued to benefit extraordinarily from the ongoing economic and financial crisis, says Brid Brennan, who presents TNI's State of Power Report 2014 at the Public Eye Awards in Davos.

A speech by Brid Brennan, at the Public Eye Awards Press Conference, Davos, Switzerland January 23, 2014

EU-Canada free trade deal ‘opens door to environmental lawsuits’

Published 11 February 2014.   Multinationals will have wide-ranging powers to sue EU states that enact health or environmental laws breaching their "legitimate expectations" of profit, according to a leaked ‘investment chapter’ from the Canada-EU free trade agreement (CETA), which was signed last November. 

A separate ‘nature and scope’ document for EU-US free trade talks, which EurActiv has seen, makes clear that similar parameters are foreseen for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement.

65,000 protest TPP in Mexico, see repeat of NAFTA mistakes

By Karen Hansen-Kuhn, IATP, February 3rd, 2014.  More than 65,000 people rallied at Mexico’s Monument to the Revolution and marched to the historic Zocalo Square to demand a new economy that puts equality, justice and human rights first. Farmers, union, environmental and women’s activists gathered in Mexico City last week to take stock of the lessons from NAFTA and plan strategies to confront the next big threat: the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). One of the earliest lessons from the NAFTA experience was that people and environments in all three countries were affected. The stories from Mexico, Canada and the U.S.

Investor corruption, bilateral investment treaties and international arbitration: Bribery at centre of failed investor claim

By Ruth Cowley, Svatava Sprague, Alfred Bridi

By losing its rights under a bilateral investment treaty against a sovereign due to corruptly securing its investment, Metal-Tech marks a seemingly growing trend of bribery playing a critical role in international investment arbitration disputes.

‘Trade deals are good news for dairy Ireland’ (bad news for Canadian beef and dairy)

By Richard Halleron on February 10, 2014.        A Canadian farming consultant has told AgriLand that the Irish dairy industry will, in all likelihood, be the big winner out of the recent trade deal agreed between Canada and the EU.

“I am aware that many of the EU’s farming bodies have highlighted their concerns regarding Canadain beef accessing EU markets,” added Ontario-based Jay Johnston.

“But in all truth this will not happen. EU health regulations state that only meat from plants that process ‘hormone free’ beef only will be allowed into Europe.

JOINT DECLARATION: 20 years of NAFTA: Enough Free Trade! No to the TPP! Tri-National Multisectoral Forum

México D.F., January 28-31, 2014 
On the 20th Anniversary of the signing of NAFTA, labor unions, farmers, women, environmentalists, and human rights organizations from Mexico, the United States, Canada and Quebec came together in a Tri-national Forum in Mexico City. We have assessed the impact on human, environmental, labor, social, and cultural rights. We conclude that the benefits of NAFTA were exaggerated to sell the agreement to the public. The promises made were not fulfilled, on the contrary, we have seen a rise in inequality, impoverishment of the vast majority of the population, loss of employment, job insecurity, environmental degradation, deterioration of social cohesion and increased violence.