Saturday, November 07, 2015

Saturday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.

- Thomas Walkom takes a broad look at the problems with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, while noting that the Trudeau Libs don't seem inclined to address them at all. Deirdre Fulton sees the final text as being worse than anybody suspected based even on the previous leaked drafts. Doctors Without Borders notes that its concerns about access to medications haven't been dealt with at all. And David Dayen examines how the TPP will affect the financial-sector regulations which would otherwise to serve to avoid or respond to economic meltdowns:
Banks and other financial institutions would be able to use provisions in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership to block new regulations that cut into their profits, according to the text of the trade pact released this week.

In what may be the biggest gift to banks in a deal full of giveaways to Hollywood, the drug industry and technology firms, financial institutions would be able to appeal any national rules they didn’t like to independent, international tribunals staffed by friendly corporate lawyers.

That could nullify a proposal by Hillary Clinton to impose a “risk fee” on financial firms — or the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders plan to reinstate the firewall between investment and commercial banks.
...
(N)ow, for the first time, financial institutions could make an ISDS claim based on not receiving a “minimum standard of treatment.” This is the most flexible type of claim. “Over time, tribunals have interpreted this to mean that the company gets compensation if the change in policy disappoints their expectations of future profits,” said Lori Wallach of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Article 11.2 of the agreement confirms that financial services providers are covered under the minimum standard of treatment obligation. This means that almost any change in financial regulations affecting future profits could be challenged in an extra-judicial tribunal, even if they equally applied to foreign and domestic firms and even if they were enacted in response to a crisis.
- Greg Suttor offers some suggestions to turn Justin Trudeau's vague messages about housing into a substantive policy. And Martha Friendly makes the case that Trudeau's answer as to why it's time for gender parity in the federal cabinet applies equally to the need for a national child care system.

- Meanwhile, Astrid Brousselle and Damien Contandriopoulos point out that the federal government will need to act quickly to enforce the Canada Health Act against Quebec's moves to allow user fees which are serving as barriers to universal care.

- Finally, John Klein highlights the City of Regina's appalling decision to deal with the lack of anywhere besides bus benches for homeless Reginans to rest...by taking away the benches.

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