Growing Majority of Canadians Agree with Obama: Renegotiate NAFTA



    OTTAWA, Sept. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The Council of Canadians has found that
61% of Canadians agree with U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama that
NAFTA should be renegotiated to include enforceable labour and environmental
standards, in a poll commissioned from Environics. The finding follows those
of earlier polls and demonstrates a steady growth in Canadians' support for
renegotiating NAFTA - from 45% in March to 52% in July (Angus Reid).
    "Whichever parties win the U.S. and Canadian elections, the concerns of
Canadians over the impact of NAFTA on jobs and the environment aren't going
away," says John Urquhart, Executive Director of the Council of Canadians.
    "Canadians need to think very carefully before October 14 about who will
best represent their concerns on the environment and jobs, should Barack Obama
become U.S. president and new NAFTA talks begin in 2009," he added. "And, even
more urgently, Canadians need to think about who should represent our
interests in talks with the European Union that are scheduled to begin a mere
three days after the election, on October 17."
    "The fact that Stephen Harper hasn't uttered a single word about this new
proposed Canada-EU trade deal before or during this election, and which
promises to be more sweeping than NAFTA, should raise serious doubts in
Canadians' minds about his appropriateness to lead us in new international
trade talks," adds Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of
Canadians. "He sees nothing wrong with NAFTA, which most Canadians want
renegotiated. And NAFTA is exactly the wrong model on which an EU-Canada trade
deal should be negotiated. It will only worsen the impact on jobs, the
environment and public services, especially health care."
    The Council has been highly critical of the Harper government's lack of
transparency in NAFTA-plus negotiations over the Security and Prosperity
Partnership (SPP) the past two years, its exclusive reliance on the advice of
private corporations and business lobbyists through the North American
Competitiveness Council (NACC), as well as its open rejection of the need to
renegotiate NAFTA.

    The Question posed in the Environics poll was:

    "Earlier this year, U.S. Senator Barack Obama promised, if elected
president of the United States on November 4, that he would renegotiate the
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to include enforceable labour and
environmental standards. Do you agree or disagree that NAFTA should be
renegotiated to include enforceable labour and environmental standards?"

    The poll, which surveyed 1,004 Canadians between September 18 and 25, is
    accurate within 3.10 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.




For further information:

For further information: Dylan Penner, Media Officer, The Council of
Canadians, Cell: (613) 795-8685, dpenner@canadians.org, www.canadians.org

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