Your Last Newsletter of 2019
The Final Signing of NAFTA…
(No really, this one is final!)
On Tuesday, over a year after the first signing, Canada, the United States, and Mexico finally signed the new NAFTA — or the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (…but the world has unilaterally agreed “New NAFTA” is better than “CUSMA” so we’re sticking with it).
We’re thrilled because Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s top political female powerhouse, led this negotiation, and general consensus is that Canadians are pretty happy. ICYMI: Chrystia served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and of International Trade under Trudeau’s first term, and was recently appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs or, basically, “Minister of Everything”
Trump vowed to get a better deal for America in his campaign, calling NAFTA economic “undevelopment” and blamed it for outsourcing US manufacturing jobs — so Chrystia had her work cut out for her.
Why do we care about NAFTA?
Our trilateral trade agreement governs over a trillion dollars of trade between Canada, US, and Mexico. Originally introduced in 1994, it eliminated tariffs between the three countries, allowing for freer trade.
So what’s new in the new NAFTA?
80-90% of the original deal was kept in place – we still have no tariffs and free trade (yay!)
- Canada and the US will trade more dairy
- More auto-manufacturing jobs will stay in the US/Canada (now, 40-45% of a vehicles components must be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour)
- Managing digital trade, information, and intellectual property
- Stronger labour enforcement, including higher labour standards in Mexico
- Stronger environmental protections, including more cross-border monitoring
What took so long?
On November 30, 2018, the three countries signed an updated NAFTA. The final version didn’t get signed until this week because we were all waiting for the US Congress to ratify it. The Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, wanted a bunch of stuff added, including higher Mexican labour standards and lower prescription drug prices.
That doesn’t mean everyone’s a fan… free trade will always have its (well costumed) detractors. Just see below:
Bill 21 Upheld, Livelihoods on Hold…
And the economic argument is Bullsh*t.
Earlier this week the Quebec Court of Appeals voted two to one to uphold Bill 21, aka the secularism law.
Introduced by the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), it prevents those in public service positions (such as teachers, police officers, and government employees) from wearing religious symbols in the workplace.
Since coming into effect June 16 of this year, it has prevented anyone hired after March 29 from wearing religious items, including hijabs and turbans. While the bill was upheld, all three judges involved criticized the Bill for the harm it causes to those affected, many of whom are first and second generation immigrants.
To recap – Bill 21 was passed in the same session as Bill 9, which proposes changes to Quebec’s immigration system to reduce immigration levels, prioritize economic immigration, and “close the unemployment gap”.
Some key facts – nationwide, Quebec has the lowest unemployment rate this year at 4.7 percent, and the unemployment rate for immigrants has also dropped significantly- effectively cut in half over the past decade.
In addition to the discriminatory nature of the two Bills, critics question the validity and relevance of the “economic basis” of the legislation. They argue that framing immigration only in economic terms gives the government the green card to cap immigration as soon as our economy sees rainy days and jobs seem tight.
While the bill only applies to Quebec, it has been contested for being in violation of both the Quebec and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in its current form. The CAQ invoked the notwithstanding clause- which permits for the violation of specific charter rights- when tabling the Bill.
The leader of the CAQ, Francois Legault, has told Trudeau to stay away from intervening in Bill 21.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says the decision is devastating, as it leaves many people concerned about their future job security and ability to work and reside in Quebec.
Concerns have also been voiced about the Bill leading to more hate crimes against religious minority groups, especially Muslims.
The Bill disproportionately affects Muslim women who wear headscarves and work as teachers, public servants, or healthcare workers- and has the effect of stemming diversity in public sector positions by preventing those already less represented in the public system from having their voices heard.
As a rising tide of anti-immigration sentiment meets a federal plan to accelerate immigration- the future of Bill 21 is likely to have consequences across Canada.
Btchcoin… A Year in Review
…and WHAT a year it’s been.
2019 was an exciting time for Btchcoin, and looking back, we’ve accomplished A LOT. We couldn’t have done it without our readers.
In the past year, we have:
- Pressed ‘send’ on 42 newsletters (and one special election edition!)
- Grown our subscribership four-fold (best sign-up month? June!)
- Reached readers in nine out of ten provinces (c’mon PEI!)
- And made Toronto, Calgary, and Ottawa our most-read cities (in that order!)
- Interviewed four prospective Ministers of Finance prior to the election, including Minister Patty Hajdu
- Featured four #moneycrushmondays women in the world of finance, economics and entrepreneurship
- Published four comprehensive “101s for Sh*t You Should Know” features
- Expanded our team to include 16 accomplished female contributors
- Conducted a session on financial literacy for young women at the YWCA
- Spoke during a webinar for the Canadian Women’s Foundation about economic empowerment
In short, 2019 was a fantastic year, and we have more thank yous than we can count that need to be said.
First off, a gigantic THANK YOU goes out to our fabulous team of contributors, editors, social media gurus, designers and everyone else who has volunteered (that’s right, as in working for FREE) to help this newsletter become the success that it is, and to advance the mission of women’s financial empowerment.
This wouldn’t be possible without each and every one of you, so a BIG kudos goes out to (in alphabetical order), Ai-Men Lau, Bronwyn McCarter, Claire Robbins, Emma Amaral, Erin Fiell, Jenessa Crognali, Katusha Saraiva, Laurel Sallie, Nabeela Jivraj, Nataly Dil, Pema Banigan, Ruhee Ismail-Teja, Sabrina Dotsch, Sukhmeet Singh, Sydney Piggott and Taryn Bergin.
Most importantly, we would like to give a HUGE thanks to all of our readers. You are the lifeblood of this newsletter, and this is all only possible because of you. If you love Btchcoin, please encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to subscribe!
Knowing we have new subscribers motivates us to keep writing this newsletter for you every week.
Btchcoin will be going into a short winter hibernation for a much needed break, but don’t worry, we’ll be sliding back in to your inboxes in 2020. Until then, we hope you enjoy the festive period with loved ones, and we’ll see you again in the New Year!