Trade/Corporate Power Agreements Update

1. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

The Council of Canadians is calling for the removal of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in NAFTA. NAFTA’s Chapter 11 grants private investors from one country the right to sue the government of another country if it introduces new laws, regulations or practices – be they environmental, health or human rights – that might cause corporations to lose their anticipated profits.

To the best of our knowledge financial services are not being negotiated in NAFTA, and financial institutions will not have access to ISDS claims under NAFTA, but the special ISDS power of large corporations to challenge our government’s policies is of great concern.

2. Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Financial services ARE part of the TPP package that continue to be discussed by Canada and the remaining TPP countries (the United States has withdrawn). The TPP would make it possible for the finance industry to challenge laws that could prevent another financial crisis. The TPP would:
• Require TPP governments to allow new financial products and services to enter their economies if these services are permitted in other TPP countries
• Constrain governments’ ability to ban risky financial products – including those not yet invented!
• Empower financial institutions to launch ISDS claims against governments.

3. Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)

The draft of TISA’s Financial Services chapter sets out rules that would assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers. The US has been particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow, which would allow uninhibited exchange of personal and financial data.



Beyond Banksters – What You Can Do!!

Organize, raise awareness, make these issues part of the national conversation!

Join forces with groups that are working to oppose privatization and corporate rights deals, promote public services (like postal banking), and raise awareness of financial alternatives: Council of Canadians, Friends of Public Services, Canadian Bank Reformers, COMER, the Public Banking Institute, LEAP manifesto… and many more…

Form a reading/discussion/action group for Beyond Banksters. Watershed Sentinel can will connect you with others in your area who are also interested.

Ask for a copy of Banksters at your public library or university/college library, or order your own to donate to friends/family/libraries.

Follow Beyond Banksters on Twitter and the Watershed Sentinel on Facebook to get and share news of the book and related issues.

Learn more & spread the word: Do your own research. Check out CUPW’s cool resources on Postal Banking – including great animated videos that you can share to explain how postal banking works and why we need it.

Sign the Council of Canadian’s NAFTA petition to the Prime Minister demanding that the government:

• Protect water by explicitly removing it as a tradable good, service or investment. We cannot leave our water vulnerable to bulk exports or privatization.
• Eliminate Chapter 11 investment provisions that allow corporations to sue governments over public interest laws or policies that hurt future corporate profits.
• Free Canada from the energy proportionality clause that locks us into supplying the U.S. with oil quotas that are destroying our environment and restricting real action on climate change.

Water: A Public Forum with Maude Barlow

boiling point

Water is one of the most important issues facing our times. Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, passionate water rights activist and award winning author, will be in B.C. to discuss her latest book, Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis. Speaking in Courtenay on April 6 at the Filberg Centre, she is joined by Vancouver Island water advocates, David Stapley and Coree Tull who will highlight the issues we face here in the Comox Valley and in our province.

This public forum is extremely relevant as we head into the May 9 provincial election. Topics of discussion will include Site C dam, the BC Water Sustainability Act, watershed health, Kinder Morgan pipeline, bottled water takings, fracking and the repercussions of international trade agreements including NAFTA.

Author of 18 books, proud recipient of 14 honorary doctorates, Barlow served as Senior Advisor on Water to the United Nations General Assembly and was a key leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the United Nations.

“Water is life, and this is what drives me every day,” says Coree Tull, Organizing Director for Freshwater Alliance and second guest presenter at the evening’s Public Forum. “It’s time for world class protection of waters in BC.”

“Right now, with the provincial election less than 2 months away there is a unique and important opportunity for British Columbians to shift the public discourse about freshwater protection and pressure the Government to add stronger regulations to the Water Sustainability Act (WSA),” states Tull.

Joining the panel is well-known local water advocate David Stapley, Program Manager with the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership. He will speak to watershed conditions, local boil water advisories, and approaches to address source drinking water quality and quantity issues for the Comox Lake Watershed.

The evening will open with the Kumugwe Dancers and close with Tina Filippino, song leader of Letz Sing. Copies of Boiling Point will be for sale and The Comox Valley Council of Canadians are hosting a special book signing opportunity with Barlow.

One of the world’s foremost water activists, Barlow has been on the front lines of the world’s water sustainability crisis for the past 20 years. On April 6 from 7-9 pm in the Conference Hall of Courtenay’s Florence Filberg Centre, she brings her wealth of experience and expertise to the Comox Valley, inviting us to take action to build a water-secure future that encompasses water restoration, conservation and protection.

The Council of Canadians, co-sponsoring the event with Freshwater Alliance, CV Conservation Partnership and CV Global Awareness Network welcomes you to join Barlow in what promises to be a compelling Public Forum.


Author Yves Engler visits Comox Valley

propaganda_cover_for-catalogue_300_420_90Book signing and a Meet, Greet & Chat on his latest release: A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation

Author, Yves Engler, dubbed Canada’s Noam Chomsky and one of today’s most important voices on the Canadian Left, is the author of nine books and hundreds of enlightening articles.

Engler’s engagingly-written and latest book A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation highlights the dark sides of Canada’s real involvement in the world. His book reveals why most Canadians believe Canada is a force for good worldwide, despite its long history of supporting empire, racism and exploitation.

Visiting Courtenay on Friday, Nov. 18, Laughing Oyster Bookstore (286 5th St. Courtenay) is hosting a book signing with Engler from 12-1pm.

Then a Meet, Greet & Chat with Engler, sponsored by the Chapter takes place at Cornerstone Café, 1:15–2:30pm, following his appearance at Laughing Oyster.

In A Propaganda System, Engler lays bare the links between corporations, government, media and academia, when it comes to establishing and maintaining Canada’s brutal foreign policy from helping to destabilize Haiti’s democratically elected government to backing the human rights-abusing Canadian-based mining companies.

A Propaganda System clearly exposes the facts that run in stark contrast to Canadians’ popular notion that we are a peace-loving country.

The Chapter welcomes you to join in a thought-provoking conversation with author Yves Engler Friday, Nov. 18 from 1:15 to 2:30 at Cornerstone Café – corner of 5th and Cliffe.

Chapter Chat

The Comox Valley Council of Canadians invites you to attend their first “Chapter Chat” on Wednesday, May 11 in the Filberg Centre’s Evergreen Lounge.

This is a great opportunity to find out more about the campaigns the Chapter is involved with – and why they are important to our lives as citizens of the Comox Valley, British Columbia, Canada, and of the world.

Members of the Health Care, Corporate Rights (“trade”) Agreements and Electoral Reform teams will outline the work being done by the Chapter in these areas. Following the overviews, questions and feedback will be welcomed in informal, small group discussions.

Letter writing suggestions, informative web links, and petitions will be available to assist those wishing to take action on any of the important topics.

Everyone is invited to the Chapter Chat at the Evergreen Seniors’ Lounge, Filberg Centre – 411 Anderton Ave., Courtenay from 7-8:30 pm on Wed. May 11.

Express Your Concerns about the TPP

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)was negotiated in secrecy between the previous tppfederal government, the United States, Mexico and nine other countries.The Council of Canadians opposes this deal because it includes an investor-state dispute settlement provision that allows transnational corporations to sue governments over legislation or policies made in the public interest, it extends the patent length (and profits) of pharmaceutical corporations by delaying the introduction of lower cost generic drugs, it slashes the domestic content requirement for automobiles, putting thousands of autoworker jobs at risks, and it undermines family farmers by opening up the Canadian dairy market to imports without creating new export markets for Canadian farmers.

The Trudeau government has promised real consultation and has extended the deadline for Canadians to submit written comments on the TPP to June 30, 2016

Individual letters in your own words are the most effective – and handwritten trumps all. Please use the key points and background information in Notes for Word Activists-1 to craft your own letter.

You can also email your concerns to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade



TPP, Food Sovereignty and Our Health

On Thursday, April 7, at 7 PM in the Rotary Hall of the Filberg Centre you are invited Layout 1to a public forum on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free trade” agreement and how it will negatively impact local food production, food sovereignty and the  safety of our national food system.

Sponsored by the Comox Valley Council of Canadians and GE Free Comox Valley, this forum is part of a Canada-wide tour featuring Dr. Shiv Chopra, a former Health Canada senior scientist and microbiologist. Joining Chopra is Jan Slomp, President of Canada’s National Farmers Union (NFU). Continue reading

The TPP, Food Sovereignty and Our Health

dr-shiv-chopra-4x3The evening features Dr. Shiv Chopra, with commentary by Jan Slomp, President of the National Farmers Union

APRIL 7, 7:00 PM
Rotary Hall, Florence Filberg Center, Courtenay

Dr. Chopra’s presentation will highlight the threat posed to our public health and food safety by the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

The TPP allows the introduction of the Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH), an artificial hormone developed by Monsanto to increase the milk output from dairy cows. During previous attempts to introduce BGH milk into Canadian milk supplies, communities mobilized and prevented the inclusion citing public health concerns.

The TPP is an enormous multilateral agreement that would expand and entrench the rights of corporations in the member states and encompass 40% of the global economy. Far-reaching, the TPP will have an impact on a long list of issues with serious ramifications for the daily lives of Canadians. Even the milk communities drink every day will be affected if the Canadian government ratifies the agreement.

The aim of Dr. Chopra’s speaking tour is to mobilize communities to protect our health, food sovereignty, and oppose BGH and the TPP. The goal is to gain more victories, not only against some of the most powerful corporations in the world such as Monsanto, but also against the sweeping powers of the new international corporate rights agreements that include the TPP.

We’ve done it before, we can do it again! Join us.


Questions for Candidates 2015

The following are issues that we care deeply about, but are not necessarily hearing discussed in the public coverage of the election. Each of these are crucial areas of federal responsibility and we feel all Comox Valley residents would benefit from knowing each Candidate’s position on all of these questions.

What is your strategy to conserve and protect our water resources? Will you develop a National Water policy that recognizes water as a human right, invests in water and wastewater infrastructure in municipalities and First Nations, bans fracking, and transitions away from tar sands and other fossil fuels?

What is your strategy to deal with fracking, the natural gas extraction process that uses and pollutes massive volumes of water and has been proven to be the cause of earthquakes?

Clean drinking water is an irreplaceable resource for communities, yet many have little control over what happens to water before it arrives in their community. Will you support the development of community based watershed management plans?

Do you commit to reinstating protections on the 99 per cent of lakes and rivers delisted from the Navigable Waters Protection Act?

Will you commit to reinstating changes to other environmental legislation and reallocating the more than $100 million cut from critical water research and programs?


Current “Trade” deals include more than tariffs and quotas, and increasingly include important public policy initiatives. They are considered “treaties” and do not require a vote in the House of Commons. Do you support full federal parliamentary debate and vote on any future trade deals?

Current trade agreements include Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses that make it possible for corporations to sue Canada if they feel their anticipated profits have been lost or threatened. What is the position of your party on Investor State Dispute Settlements?

Do you support a public, unbiased assessment of the effect of any unsigned and future trade agreements on: i) environmental protections; ii) public health protections; and iii) human rights protections?


What will you do to prioritize issues that matter to young people, as well as to reduce barriers to voting faced by youth and students, to engage them more in electoral politics?

Will you commit to introducing electoral reform to ensure every vote counts in future elections?

What will you do to ensure Elections Canada has the power to find the perpetrators of the 2011 election fraud and prevent it from happening again?

Will you repeal Bill C-51?


Canadians are currently subsidizing the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $1.3 billion per year. How will your party support alternative energy sources to reduce demand for fossil fuels?

In light of recent climate change agreements between the United States and China, does your party believe a price on carbon should be set by the federal government?

What plan and climate change targets would your government take to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris in November?


Canadians share a deeply held belief that access to needed health care services should not be based on how rich we are, but rather on our medical need. What will your party do to provide the funds and national standards needed to give everyone in Canada access to quality public health care regardless of where they live or how much money they earn?

Studies show that 1 in 10 Canadians don’t buy the prescription drugs they need because of their cost. What is your party’s position on a publicly funded and administered national drug plan?

What is your party’s position on a national seniors care strategy would provide homecare, hospital care, long-term care, hospice and palliative care to aging Canadians as they need it?

Free Trade: Basic Issues

ElderCollege Short Course   CVEC – 6435

February 27, 2015       1:00 – 5:00 pm, North Island College
Instructor: Alice de Wolff

Come spend a Friday afternoon with Alice getting up to speed on the current agreements the federal government is negotiating and the issues these raise for us in the Comox Valley.

PM Harper has said that the agreement with Europe will be the largest Canada has ever made. Others point out that current trade agreements are not simply about the exchange of goods. They are also creating the architecture for a new set of corporate and investor rights that have the potential to make it even more difficult to protect our environment, labour standards, agriculture, food sources, human rights, health care, access to the internet … and more.

Alice’s presentation is informal, with lots of discussion and background printed information.
ElderCollege makes it possible to keep learning about a wide variety of things – including this key aspect of how our economy and society are changing.
Register on-line at ($10). Click on the “Registration Available” button. You will be asked to become a member of ElderCollege (open to everyone over age 55) ($10) and to register for the course ($10). Registration is open between Jan 26 and the week of the course. If you have difficulty, or if the course is full and you wish to be on a waitlist, please contact 250-334-5000 ext. 4602 or . Or contact Alice de Wolff and she will try to help – at

Video of Comox Valley in Intercontinental Day of Action

On January 31, 2014 the Council of Canadians held an Inter-Continental Day of Action in 45 cities across Canada, USA, Mexico and Australia protesting the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement(TPP) as well as other mega trade deals (CETA/FIPPA).  Agreements like these adversely affect all regular people of the globe.  They only feed the economy of the wealthy at the expense of public and their resources.  This short video documents what the Comox Valley Chapter of the Council of Canadians had to say.

Brenda Sayers from the Hupacasath First Nation explains the court challenge they have launched, the ramifications of these corporate rights deals and the support received from across Canada.

Please watch, listen to and pass along the information contained herein  Thank you.

For more information on these issues or the Council of Canadians, please visit  or locally