Free Trade - the Rich's Global Corporate Weapon, Fair Trade - the People's and Gaia's Defense

The popular resistance to Free Trade as Tyranny is growing

As the Sierra Club's recent report 'NAFTA's Deadly Legacy: Corporate Profits Over People and Planet Corporate Profits Over People and Planet; points out: "The environmental legacy of the trade pact is both widespread and varied. From fueling the proliferation of Genetically Modified (GM) agriculture in Mexico to encouraging the development of Alberta tar sands, the results have been a disaster for people and the environment." Free trade isn't just words to be parsed, it's a whole globe girdling, planet pulverising, paradigm.

As Maude Barlow puts it, " I'm referring to those awkward facts about free trade, like that Canada lost 334,000 manufacturing jobs in the first five years after the Canada-U.S. deal was signed - a decline that continued under NAFTA and continues to this day. Good paying full-time jobs are more often than not replaced by precarious part-time work, which contributes to Canada's stagnating middle-income wages over the past 20 years. It's a harsh reality of the free trade era that most of the new wealth created - and free trade does create wealth - went straight to the top, to the richest one per cent in Canada and globally."

NAFTA, has been around long enough to prove itself a pack of lies. More recently these deals have been concluded behind closed doors and have included even worse because they are investor-state treaties. For instance, according to Elizabeth May, if/when the Canada-China Investment Treaty is ratified, the treaty would be binding on Canada and on future Canadian governments for a minimum of 31 years. This type of treaty is often called a Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPPA or FIPA). Interestingly Australia recently undertook a cost-benefit study of investment treaties, which showed that these treaties create far greater costs than benefits. Harpo and his neo-con corporate stooges meanwhile keep singing 'Don't Worry Be Happy'. Well, like millions of people and fair Gaia herself, we're worried and we're not happy.

The stakes for our children and grandchildren globally are immense. The American 'Popular Resistance' website has a comprehensive 'Fifteen Core Issues The Country Must Face' page who's comprehensive insights can easily be translated to any region or country. The fact is national boundaries are meaningless in this global battle against over-consumption driven extractive capitalism.

None-the-less, i live in Canada so as in the eating of any elephant, one bite at a time is the best way forward. Canada is currently run by the Conservative Party [think Tea Party], they have never seen a corporate swindler they didn't love and support. Of course to be fair, the corporate swindlers love and support them too. There isn't bigger Free Trade booster on the planet than Harpo.

The official opposition - the NDP - once upon a time held moderately progressive anti-Free Trade positions that are, now that Jack Layton has died and Tom Mulcair has taken over, just a fond memories. As my neighbor Murray Dobbin asked in 'Is The NDP Becoming 'Liberals-lite'?': "Will Tom Mulcair do anything for a vote?" Apparently the answer is yes. The NDP has dropped all talk of rescinding or reopening the North American Free Trade Agreement, a deal the NDP has stridently opposed in the past and it's urging the World Trade Organization to re-start global trade talks, which the NDP used to protest against. Free Trade is a weapon of the 1%, Fair Trade is a tool of the 99% That is, IMO, Mulcair's mistake.

Then there's the Liberals who currently rank #3 but have been in power for most of the last half century and despite opposing Free Trade when it was first proposed and they were not in office immediately flip-flopped when elected. Their current leader- Prince Justin Trudeau - makes noises about Fair Trade but in reality the Free Trade and globalization agenda of both the Conservatives and Liberals in Ottawa have played equal roles in destroying Canada's economy. On top of that the Liberals have always professed sincerity for whatever wind was blowing at the time, then changed course as soon as it suited them. At least Harpo's neo-cons say they are assholes and prove it with their actions. The Liberals always try to stand in the mushy middle and never do what they say.

Which brings me to Canada's Green Party led by Elizabeth May. They are the only party that has consistently stood against the corporate Free Trade juggernaut. The Greens stand alone and lead the battle for Fair Trade. Of course, i don't agree with everything Elizabeth and the Greens propose but no matter where you live, i suggest reading their most fundamental policy document - Vision Green.

Like everywhere, Canada is conflicted by a wide variety of people, with a wide range of opinions.