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NAFTA II: TRUDEAU AND THE CONTINUED ABANDONMENT OF SOVEREIGNTY

The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them. – Karl Marx 

Frank A. Pelaschuk

The hallmark of liars is the belief they are smarter than the mark. They often are; the galling part is their certainty of our stupidity.

For Justin Trudeau, the “new” NAFTA is a win. For local Canadian retailers, already under stress, there is even greater stress as consumers will be able to buy more American goods online before duties kick in. As for farmers, they too seem to have been abandoned forced into accepting a life they do not and did not seek, not just government subsidization, but also a loss of independence and, for most, if not all, a way of life they would not exchange at any price with the further indignation of knowing that for those who would end supply management, their livelihood and their lives are considered a small sacrifice at the behest of the free market, which most likely support and have now fallen victim to. The free market now threatens them with American milk surpluses dumped into Canada and taxpayers compensating farmers. The winners will be the big guns and, in the end, almost certainly have Canadian farmers and consumers as losers.

Trudeau had said more than once, “No deal is better than a bad deal”. He was always glib with the homilies but, when it comes to the crunch, he is more successful in what he says than what he does. It takes practice, I guess, and character of fluid ethics. 

Politically, Trudeau has from the start been deceitful, dishonest and hypocritical; he campaigned with grand promises and loud claims while never offering notice that there were strings attached to some and others he had no intention of honouring because he did not even believe in the things he wanted us to believe he believed though he was convincing in that area, shedding tears on cue and oozing, simply oozing, sincerity. He promised more and better and had little difficulty in walking away from both when they failed to suit his purposes as with the mandate letters to his caucus outlining what he expected from them and their ministries. Foremost among the mandates was his expectation of avoidance of real and perceived conflicts of interests which, almost immediately, Jody Wilson-Raybould, his minister of justice, ignored and he excused off-handedly. No big deal. Except it was. For the next year, he and his ministers attended secret meetings at private fundraising gatherings with the well-heeled movers and shakers who always seem to have the conservatives and liberals in their pockets in matters that really count for them. 

And then, of course, who can forget or even forgive that massive betrayal of his loud, boastful declaration that 2015 was the “last ever” first-past-the-post election. Oh, he put on a good show of self-congratulatory puffery, setting up a committee to look into reform and make recommendations but was immediately outed for stacking the deck which he quickly corrected without apparent shame for attempting to pull a fast one. But it wasn’t long before he set about undermining the newly reorganized committee saying the public was losing interest in Electoral Reform. Naturally, that was a lie. Why should he kill the golden horse on which he rode to majority victory? He would and did not. But he did want a show, a pretend spectacle of offering opportunity for change until proceeding to kill his own creation when he realized the committee he sought to rig would not make the recommendation he sought, the ranked ballot system that would all but guarantee, as has happened since confederation, that the liberals and conservatives would continue to govern for as long as Canada existed. Instead, the committee recommended a form of proportional representation. Trudeau’s liberals (with conservatives cheering him all the way) was having none of that. Why? Because, with PR, every vote counts. In other words, PR forces a fair election with a fair outcome. 

Even with the best will in the world, I cannot help but believe Trudeau lied, absolutely lied to the public when he made that declaration while withholding from voters his preferred and only choice. In other words, with his preference off the table, he had no intention of following through with electoral reform.

Three years later, Trudeau continues to lie with the conclusion of the “new” NAFTA negotiation. He was snookered, trumped by that lunatic to the south and he has the gall to call it a win. What is astounding is that so many seem to be of that view. Any deal, even a bad deal, seems preferable to no deal is the stand he now takes. It is the health of Big Business, evidently, that is of more concern to the Liberals, than the health and well-being of Canada and its citizens. The conservatives cannot be ignored in all this; had they had their way, the bad deal would have been signed months earlier and, without doubt, with a potential for greater harm to Canada and Canadians. 

NAFTA II (USMCA) reinforces the perception that we have already surrendered sovereignty when corporations, under NAFTA could take legal action against a nation it perceives as protectionist and harmful to their bottom line. Under this agreement, there is a clause in Chapter 32, Article 32.10A inserted by the Americas which basically takes another swipe at sovereignty. None of the three signatories will be allowed to engage in independent trade negotiations with China without first notifying the other two and allowing them to review the agreement for month before the deal is signed. If the other parties don’t like the deal, they can withdraw from NAFTA II within six months. If that is not surrender of sovereignty, what is? Defenders of the deal say other signatories had the same option to withdraw under NAFTA. That is true but not quite under conditions like this. For the past two or three years, Canada and China have been exploring trade talks. With USMCA, Canada and Mexico will be dragged into an American, Trump-instigated trade war with China. China cannot help but look unfavourably on this clause and wonder whether Canada, as a signatory to the deal, can really be trusted in future talks, if they ever take place, when under the subjugation of the American boot on its neck. It’s a surrender of sovereignty and nothing but. Pharmaceutical companies, especially American, will do very well When you hear conservative politicians largely praise the deal notwithstanding the required partisan political shots at the liberals, you know what you’ve probably always known: When it comes to the interests and welfare of ordinary Canadians, Conservatives and Liberals will always number the health of Big Business their first priority. And Canadians will feel the affects of that priority for real when they feel the blow of prescription costs going up.

Yeah, it’s a great deal. Unless you’re an ordinary, hard working Canadian farmer, a local retailer and its employee.  

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But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine.

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They that can give up essential liberties to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.  Benjamin Franklin

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About Frank A. Pelaschuk

I am the author of two works of fiction reviewed by Brian Porter, author of Lonely Together and The Atlas Proxies. He called the novel, Serpent in the Garden, "A convincing, seductive tale of coming home to the enemy". Of Ambiguities of Love in Six Stories, he wrote, “Moving, intelligent, and thoughtful storytelling." Both works are available on Amazon as soft cover or e-book where the full reviews also appear.

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