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Thank you for participating in the Dialogue on Foreign Policy. The interactive web site is now closed. The Minister's report will appear on this web site once it is released.

This Forum is bilingual, and participants post messages in their language of choice.

Trade and Sovereignty

Contributor: Marius

Date: 2003-01-28 16:40:09

I must admit that any further political or economic intergration with the US worries me. The economic aspect is the hidden danger here as we Canadians have very vocal opinions when asked about political intergration with the US. Many people see the economic benefits of greater intergration but they tend to ignore the pitfalls.
I think any talk of further economic intergration is premature and dangerous. We as a nation must have a national discussion on what we see as Canada's future in the world. Our politicans should come forward and challenge the public with a discussion on political intergration on the US. Do we want to join somesort of American federation with US at the head. Do we want to maintain an independent political system of the Americans. Should we perhaps try to gain some sort associate membership from the EU. These are the questions that Canadians should grapple with. They are tough questions which no doubt will divide and polarize Canadians, but this discussion is necassary. By not having this discussion and following our current program of steady economic intergration with the US we are ultimately making these important political decisions by stealth.
When we finally address these political questions we may find our options have been greatly reduced by our extreme dependence on the American economy. Before we follow a set economic policy we need to know it is in step with our political goals. My personal hunch is that if the American people sent 85% of their exports to one country they would consider this a serious national security matter, for Canadians to do any less is folly.


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Trade and Sovereignty

Contributor: diana

Date: 2003-01-30 15:34:15

I'm very concerned about the kind of trade agreements Canada is involved in. They make it harder for citizens to protect environmental and human rights they've worked hard to earn, and have angered so many citizens that when countries meet to negotiate their terms there are demonstrations. I'm not against global trade agreements per se, but feel that they should honour the three bottom lines -- financial, social and environmental. I also feel that these should not be negotiated in secret (for example, the MAI was only leaked through the internet -- otherwise the general public would never have found out about them). Since they affect all citizens, we should be informed about what's being negotiated, and have input.

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Trade and Sovereignty

Contributor: OJ

Date: 2003-02-02 02:10:02

I agree that negotiations such as the MAI should have been more transparent. I think that pressure from the public, however, is pushing institutions like the OECD, WTO, etc. to conduct reforms that promote this. That being said, I don't think that NGOs (as many of them argue) should be included at the negotiation table. The negotiating parties at these organizations are representatives of democratically-elected governments. I do not think that groups like Greenpeace or Amnesty should be given the same governing authority in such bodies as my duly-elected government. So yes, I support transparency but in order for accountability to be maximized, the negotiating groups MUST be representatives who are at least indirectly elected (i.e. appointed by elected officials). And on the issue of environment and human rights, many of the agreements in which we are engaged (including NAFTA and GATT/WTO) include clauses that allow contracting parties to enact policies that otherwise violate the agreements for reasons of health, environment, or security concerns. I believe Article XXI of the GATT covers this...don't remember where it is in NAFTA.

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Trade and Sovereignty

Contributor: cfallon

Date: 2003-02-07 14:09:32

I agree Marius, the discussion is 100% critical. My sentiments run counter to yours, in that, I worry about turning our backs on the nation with which we have most in common. Membership in the EU seems ridiculous: you are opting to be controlled by Berlin-Paris versus Washington. Quelle difference?

The US domestic market is so huge, I don't think they would really care what % of their exports goes where.

If Washington did control our economy, as you fear, there would be some benefits:

1) Elimination of corporate welfare that our federal government bestows its corporate sponsors.

2) Improved environmental regulation (as you well know, the US environmental standards are considerably higher than ours).

Our political system will always, from now until the world blows up, be independent of the US. They don't want us. They don't need us. They US as it is today is how it will be, except that maybe Puerto Rico will become a state.

I worry a great deal about the vast number of Canadians willing to commit economic suicide just to drape themselves in the Canadian flag. (Maybe that's because if we turned our backs on the US, my family wouldn't have anything to eat.)

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Trade and Sovereignty

Contributor: ted_wakefield

Date: 2003-02-16 02:54:36

We sell to people who are free enough and rich enough to buy fron us. Our failure is that there are not more countries rich and free enough to buy our stuff. We could help there.

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