Saturday, July 07, 2012

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lori Wallach discusses the corporate coup underlying the Trans-Pacific Partnership which the Cons are so eager to force on Canada:
(T)rade is the least of it. Only two of TPP’s 26 chapters actually have to do with trade. The rest is about new enforceable corporate rights and privileges and constraints on government regulation. This includes new extensions of price-raising drug patent monopolies, corporate rights to attack government drug formulary pricing plans, safeguards to facilitate job offshoring and new corporate controls over natural resources.

Also included are severe limits on government regulation of financial services, zoning and land use, product and food safety, energy and other essential services, tobacco, and more. The copyright chapter poses many of the threats to Internet freedom of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which was stalled in Congress under intense public pressure.

The proposed pact is so invasive of domestic policy space that it would even limit how governments can spend tax dollars. Buy America and other Buy Local procurement preferences used to reinvest our tax dollars in the American economy would be banned and sweat-free, human rights or environmental conditions on government contracts would be subject to challenge in closed-door foreign tribunals.
- But as Jim Stanford notes, the TPP isn't the only means being used to push U.S. anti-labour principles in Canada. Meanwhile, Murray Mandryk muses about what the labour movement needs to do to win over the general public - though I have to wonder whether some of the resources now being spent on general warm-and-fuzzy messaging might be better put to use explaining why the few fights which make the news are so important.

- Peter O'Neil reports on Robyn Allan's observation that Canadians could get stuck with the bill for anything that goes wrong with new pipelines as the operators insulate themselves from any responsibility.

- Finally, Dr. Dawg points out three takes on the developing interest rate manipulation scandal.

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