- Mark Anderson reports on the Change Readiness Index' findings that the growing concentration and inequality of wealth is making it more and more difficult for countries to deal with foreseeable disasters. But Jon Queally points out that a concerted effort to quit abusing fossil fuels could do a world in making our world both more fair and more sustainable.
- James Galbraith suggests that the EU is guilty of gross malpractice in how it continues to treat Greece in the face of overwhelming public opposition to austerity. But as David Dayen points out, the course of treatment makes a lot more sense if the goal of creditors is to make the patient suffer as a warning to others.
- Andrew Nikiforuk interviews Gus Van Harten about the pernicious effects of the Cons' FIPA trade deal with China:
Just how lopsided is this investment deal with China?- Don Braid writes that Rachel Notley's NDP government is not only challenging corporatist dogma in Alberta, but also building a new coalition of previously-marginalized voters who figure to benefit from more progressive governance. And Laurie Monsebraaten reports on Toronto's new - if still somewhat vague - plan to fight poverty in Canada's largest city.
I have followed these treaties for a long time and reviewed hundreds of them. One thing that stands out for me in the deal with China is the unequal rights of market access. In the FIPA -- and I've never seen this before -- the Harper government gave Chinese investors a right of access to Canada's economy, but did not get the same right for Canadian investors in China. That was an extraordinary concession to China.
So, the FIPA requires Canada to open its economy and resources to Chinese companies in general, but it lets China keep a closed economy. China can also keep favouring its own companies at home, in areas like intellectual property, approvals and tax levels. The FIPA is clearly more about giving Chinese investors the freedom to buy what they want in Canada than it is about protecting Canadian investors in China.
How else is the FIPA lopsided? It lets Canada and China block specific investments, but is lopsided on this issue, again in favour of China. China has belts and suspenders to keep unwanted Canadian investors out. Canada has given up the belt and kept a thinner pair of suspenders to keep Chinese investors out.
Treaties like the FIPA are also lopsided in favour of foreign investors, who get far more powerful protection than anyone else does in international law. That comes at a cost to taxpayers and voters. With the FIPA, this part of the deal also favours China simply because the Chinese own more in Canada than Canadians do in China.
- Finally, tcnorris offers a roadmap for an NDP government in working to abolish the Senate.