Date: 2003-01-25 19:17:41
Reply to this message
I have to disagree with you, clinton. You say that "it has always favoured the U.S." yet if one looks at the rulings of the many NAFTA dispute panels since the agreement came into effect, one sees that in fact the rulings have been quite evenly mixed in favour of our two countries. You also claim that NAFTA gives American corporations control over our natural resources. If you would read the agreement, you will find that this also is untrue. For example, NAFTA guarantees a certain PERCENTAGE of oil output in Canada for export to the United States, yet the actual amount of oil produced is entirely up to Canadian oil producers, not Americans. In response to your assertion that NAFTA has undermined Canadian sovereignty, again I beg to differ. NAFTA has created a legal framework that PROTECTS Canadian sovereignty by disallowing a very protectionist US Congress from arbitrarily imposing duties and tariffs on Canadian exports. For example, since softwood lumber and cultural industries are not included in the agreement, they are among the greatest sources of tension between Canada and the US right now, since there is no framework that prevents the Americans from arbitrarily calling something an "unfair subsidy", prompting a countervailing duty. So in this sense, NOT including these issues in the framework has decreased our sovereignty, as Canadian policymakers must walk on eggshells while they strive to avoid any perception of unfair subsidization south of the border. On the issue of a declining dollar, it has nothing to do with NAFTA. Canadian financial regulations (i.e. investments must contain at least 70% "Canadian content") have meant that our country is awash in excess capital. By loosening these restrictions and allowing Canadian investors to invest in more lucrative foreign markets, they will gain far greater returns on those investments while reducing capital stocks enough to raise the value of the loonie versus the greenback. In any case, I believe that the Canadian government should continue to support NAFTA, and indeed strengthen it by broadening the scope of its coverage. Doing so promotes greater Canada-US cooperation in a range of other foreign and economic policy initiatives, allows Canadian consumers to enjoy lower prices through competitive markets, and investors to benefit from lucrative opportunities outside our borders.