Harper should join US call to pull the plug on NAFTA, says Council of Canadians



    OTTAWA, Feb. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's
announcement yesterday that the Harper government would allocate $29 million
toward "a stronger North American Partnership" is out of step with growing
calls in Canada, the United States and Mexico to renegotiate the North
American Free Trade Agreement and pull out of the Security and Prosperity
Partnership, says the Council of Canadians.
    With leading Democratic contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton
openly repudiating the North American Free Trade Agreement for its poor labour
and environmental standards, the Council of Canadians is demanding that the
Canadian government revisit its own commitment to a trade relationship that
puts corporate profits before the public interest and the environment.
    "This is an opportunity for our government to recognize that NAFTA and
the SPP have undermined our ability to protect the environment, social
programs and labour rights," says Maude Barlow, the national chairperson of
the Council of Canadians. "In continuing to defend the exisiting trade model
despite growing public outcry in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, the Harper
government is demonstrating that it is a prisoner of corporate lobbying."
    Both Clinton and Obama have declared that they would withdraw from NAFTA
within six months after taking office failing a complete renegotiation of the
trade deal, including the controversial dispute settlement mechanism.
    In contrast, Flaherty touted NAFTA as a source of North American
prosperity yesterday and declared that "Canadian companies must continue to
profit from the commercial benefits of NAFTA, particularly as they strive to
compete in North American and world markets."
    The Council of Canadians will be taking its message to New Orleans in
April when it joins other social justice and environmental groups to oppose
the SPP Leaders' Summit bringing together the heads of state of Canada, the
United States and Mexico.




For further information:

For further information: Meera Karunananthan, Media Officer, (613)
233-4487 ext. 234, cell: (613) 795-8685, meera@canadians.org,
www.canadians.org

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Council of Canadians

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