Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Scott Sinclair writes that there's no reason for any party to NAFTA to see itself as being stuck with the existing agreement (or worse), while also mentioning a few ways to substantially improve the rules governing North American trade:
Canada should call Trump’s bluff by championing a fairer distribution of the benefits of trade — presumably the idea behind the Trudeau government’s ambitions to usher in a new generation of “progressive trade” agreements.

Anxiety about trade and globalization runs deep and goes beyond Trump’s core supporters.

Canada’s negotiating agenda will need to reflect that reality. It just so happens there are ways to redo or replace NAFTA to make it a better deal for workers in all three countries.

An obvious first step is to include strong, fully enforceable labour standards. Mexican workers, whose real wages have stagnated under NAFTA, and who are rarely free to join independent unions, would be the primary beneficiaries. But rising wages and improved working conditions in Mexico and many Southern U.S. states would provide support for the same in the rest of North America.
The Trump administration intends to bolster Buy American purchasing policies, which could side-swipe Canadian suppliers. But the government’s standard response — to seek an exemption for Canadian goods — has fallen short before and will fare much worse today.

Canada could instead propose reciprocal “Buy North American” policies for new public infrastructure spending. If this is rejected, Canada should maximize national economic spinoffs on its own planned public investments through Buy Canadian policies.
-  Swati Pandey and Jane Wardell report that while Canadian governments try to hand over everything in sight to the financial sector, Australia's right-wing government is instead raising taxes on banks to fund infrastructure spending.

- Gregory Beatty points out the desperate need for checks on corporate fund-raising in Saskatchewan politics.

- Jorge Barrera reports on the Trudeau Libs' dishonest approach to First Nations, as they're publicly stating a commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples while going out of its way to give effect to its terms.

- But in some good local news, Craig Baird reports on a new protocol between the City of Regina and First Nations groups. And having questioned City Council's past delay in signing on to the Blue Dot movement, I'll note that it has now approved the declaration.

- Finally, Fair Vote Vancouver highlights how a first-past-the-post electoral system accentuates the urban-rural divide in British Columbia (as in other jurisdictions).

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