WE FINALLY HAVE A NAFTA DRAFT RESOLUTION
The 14 month rollercoaster of NAFTA (re)negotiations has come to an end – and the tentative agreement has a new name: The United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement.
So? Is it really a “Good Day for Canada” – as PM Trudeau stated last night?
The Canadian dairy lobby has been quick to criticize the deal, which they believe gives American competitors an unfair leg up. The new agreement involves an end to Canada’s Class 7 pricing on milk products, which made Canadian dairy far cheaper than American products. This portion of the agreement is sure to play well for Trump in the upcoming American midterm elections – Republican votes in dairy producing states like Wisconsin are sorely needed.
On the other hand, the new agreement maintains Chapter 19 – which stipulates that in the case of a trade dispute between any of the three countries, a multinational panel will make a judgment. This is a major win for Canadian negotiator and Minister of Global Affairs, Chrystia Freeland. Previously, President Trump had loudly opposed the inclusion of Chapter 19, which he characterized as an impingement on American sovereignty.
In the aftermath, the Canadian loonie has jumped up – perhaps a sign you should indulge in some online shopping from your favourite American retailers?
NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS INDIGENOUS UNEMPLOYMENT
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a new report this week highlighting the challenges faced by indigenous Canadians. Currently, indigenous Canadians face an unemployment rate of 15.3% – compared to 7.4% for the non-indigenous population.
Part of the problem lies in the fact that indigenous people do not have access to the same social networks non-indigenous people have (think about all the times you’ve heard the job hunt is ‘all about who you know’). We have legacies of colonialism and present-day racism to thank for that.
The report recommends a number of initiatives to improve unemployment and level the playing field for indigenous job seekers, including increasing support for indigenous career mentoring services and indigenous start-up and social enterprise initiatives.
Currently, Ottawa is developing a $400 million program to support indigenous employment – expected to launch in April.
LNG CANADA MAY BE ANNOUNCED THIS AFTERNOON
The $40 Billion project – which will transport Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Kitimat, BC to gas consumers in Asia, has been in the works for several years, but uncertainty in the energy industry (*cough Trans Mountain cough*) has delayed any decisions until now.
The project will require the building of a pipeline from Peace River, Alberta, to the Coast. Think: thousands of jobs and tax revenue. Also think: regulatory hurdles and potential stakeholder opposition.
LNG Canada, as the project has been named, is led by Royal Dutch Shell in cooperation with four other Asian energy mega-companies.
As domestic demand for fossil fuel stagnates, and America, (our previous #1 customer) has shifted towards producing their own fuel, Canadian energy producers have looked to Asian countries, where demand for fossil fuels is rising, as a last-ditch opportunity for new markets.
To learn more, stay tuned for a B*tchcoin primer on Canadian oil and gas in the next couple of weeks.