Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Peter Mazereeuw reports on the growing opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership which may result in it never coming into force. And Jerry Dias reminds us why we should be glad if that movement wins out over the corporate forces who assembled it behind closed doors:
(T)he far more insidious part of the deal has nothing to do with trade or tariffs at all.

It is the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system that would give corporations the right to sue governments for passing laws that hurt their ability to earn a profit -- even if those laws are in the public interest.

Think about that. A government gets elected to pass the laws that its citizens want -- and then gets sued under an international trade agreement for doing exactly what it was elected to do.

Think that won't happen? It already has.
Testifying before hearings into the TPP in New Zealand last week, Osgoode Hall law professor Gus Van Harten said that while ISDS provisions have existed in trade deals before, the TPP marks a watershed. That's because the TPP, along with a proposed trade deal between Europe and the United States, would expand coverage of ISDS provisions from 20 per cent of the world economy to up to 90 per cent .

That means that virtually the entire world economy would be ruled by these undemocratic ISDS tribunals, which put corporate profits ahead of public policy, the environment or labour rights. In fact, ISDS is a one-way street, with only private industries given the right to sue, while protecting them against state or citizen lawsuits.

The TPP, in other words, is a lop-sided deal that favours the rights of corporations over the people, a reflection of the blind faith placed in so-called free trade by our former Conservative government.
- Fernando Arce reports on the plight of migrant workers lacking any protection from Canada's federal government. And Desmond Cole sees the issue as one of the most stark examples of our seeing workers as disposable.

- Meanwhile, Anna Mehler Paperny reports on a continued pattern of immigrants being shut away in solitary confinement for years at a time due to the belief that option is easier than providing treatment.

- Chantal Hebert writes that Maryam Monsef's utterly senseless talking points on electoral reform are burning bridges to people who were more than willing to work with the Libs on a fair electoral system. And Jeremy Nuttall talks to Nathan Cullen about the obvious problems with the Libs' self-serving committee design.

- Finally, Eric Pineault comments on the trend toward extreme oil extraction - and the need to start building our economy on a more stable and less dangerous foundation.

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