Saturday, May 10, 2014

Free Trade Is Not Fair Trade



Stephen Harper has been travelling around the world, signing "free" trade deals like a hockey player signing autographs. But those deals have been particularly detrimental to Ontario's economy -- and The Great Recession has put the province's manufacturers on the ropes. Tom Walkom writes:


The North American economy is being put through a wringer, in a wrenching process that began with free trade.

Before free trade, multinationals that wanted to sell in Canada had to produce here. Trade barriers may have been inefficient. But they kept people employed.

Indeed, it is only thanks to a trade barrier — the still-extant requirement that Canadian tomato juice be made from fresh tomatoes — that 250 of the 740 jobs slated for destruction at Leamington’s H.J. Heinz Co. plant are being saved

Immediately after the first free trade pact was inked, multinationals began to rationalize their North American operations. Many decided to keep their Ontario branch plants open. But instead of manufacturing a full range of products, these plants would concentrate on specific product lines that could be sold continent-wide.

For Ontario this meant that many jobs stayed.

But now, under competitive pressures aggravated by the slump, North America is undergoing stage two of globalization. In order to radically reduce costs, multinationals are centralizing all North American production in a handful of large plants.

Not surprisingly, they are choosing to situate these large plants in the U.S. rather than Canada.

Stephen Harper claims that he walks in the footsteps of John A. Macdonald. That, of course, is hokem. It was Macdonald who instituted The National Policy -- which was based on a simple quid pro quo: if you want to sell here, you have to locate here. That was the principle behind the Auto Pact.

But NAFTA put an end to the auto pact and what was left of The National Policy. It began the quest to make the world safe for capital. And it entrenched the principle that free trade is not fair trade.

16 comments:

Hugh said...

One reason we pay taxes is for when companies sue Canada under NAFTA:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/eli-lilly-files-500m-nafta-suit-against-canada-over-drug-patents-1.1829854

Owen Gray said...

It's all about privatizing profits and socializing losses, Hugh.

Lorne said...

All of this, Owen, is a consequence of entrusting our fortunes to our corporate overlords and their government facilitators.

Owen Gray said...

And we have been gullible enough to believe them when they tell us that they have our best interests at heart, Lorne.

Anonymous said...

Mackenzie King was on the economic track during the second war - pity succeeding governments lacked his vision and common sense.

Rural said...

Your headline says it all Owen, these trade 'deals' are not free and not fair, they benefit almost none but the multinational Corporations!

Owen Gray said...

Some economists call it "Creative Destruction", Rural. What that means is creative for the few, destruction for the many.

mogs moglio said...

Over and over again harper proves himself to be the best friend of foreign big business interests and Canada's Number One Enemy. Harpers enemies list is upside down and inside out: he has made himself the publics enemy. When will Canadians wake from their slumber and realize their country has been sold by harpers policies to the best interests of mostly foreign capital and their children are about to become have not's in a land of plenty controlled by out side interests.

Owen Gray said...

King built our post war manufacturing base, Anon. Harper has destroyed it.

Anonymous said...

Corporations are, bottomless pits of greed. They demand cheap labor. Harper brings over cheap foreign labor, for the corporations to exploit. Harper is working with corporations, on the TPP. This is another corporate give-a-way. This gives corporations, a hell of a lot more power.

When corporations line up at the trough and squeal for more money? Harper gives them another $60 billion in tax reductions.

Read of: Harper gives a speech in New York at the, Council of Foreign Relations. This was Sept 25/2007

Read of: Harper's speech on global governance for Canada.

However? Trying to get through to the Canadian people, is an exercise in futility.

Owen Gray said...

We have foolishly elected a man who feels nothing but contempt for us, Mogs. We can do something about it in a year's time -- if we have the intelligence and courage to admit our own folly.

mogs moglio said...

Free trade? BS Stephen Harper is not a prime minister:

"Stephen Harper signed the North American Security Perimeter Deal and has been on a free trade agreement signing spree. Signing deals with countless countries around the world including a FIPA (Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection) agreement with China. They are also in the process of negotiating massive deals (dwarfing NAFTA) like the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement).

His ‘conservative government’ quietly signed the Federal Sustainable Development Act in 2008. The act ensures Canada’s commitment to sustainable development under United Nations Agenda 21. He is a big Globalist puppet, he has attended Bilderberg meetings, he meets with the CCCE more than a couple dozen times a year to be lobbyed by them and he also meets with the Council on Foreign Relations."

The shadow government exposed everything we thought is right Stephen is working directly with the elitists to take apart Canada and impose a corporate state the work has been going on behind the scenes for over 20 years. Aha here is the real Harper its revolting reading but if we are to have any chance of keeping Canada free we must know our enemies...

http://canadianawareness.org/2014/01/exposing-the-top-10-canadian-corporatists-bilderberg-group-and-the-ccce/

http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/mega-lobbyists-canadian-council-chief-executives/17669

http://mohawknationnews.com/blog/tag/council-of-chief-executives/

http://www.corbettreport.com/power-behind-the-throne-the-canadian-council-of-chief-executives/

Owen Gray said...

After all this time, Mogs, there should be no doubt about either Harper's goals or his clients.

Owen Gray said...

It's pretty clear whose interests Harper is defending, Anon.

Anonymous said...

Have any of Harper's much ballyhooed trade deals actually been ratified?

Owen Gray said...

A point well taken, Anon. But with Harper's compliant caucus, there doesn't seem to be a problem.