Sunday, January 26, 2020
The North American Free Trade Agreement And Canada Politics Essay The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was ceremonially signed by the leaders of Canada, the United States, and Mexico on December 17st, 1992. After deliberations in each countrys democratic hall of power, it officially came into effect on January 1st, 1994. NAFTA is first and foremost an economic agreement between its three member countries. Its primary goal is to remove trade barriers and subsidies for national industries in order to create a truly free North American market which would better foster competition, thus increasing wealth and productivity. With those changes in effect, its effect was expected to be an increase income and a higher standard of living for the citizens of each country. At the same time, NAFTA would theoretically allow the member nations to leverage the advantages of a large free trade bloc in order to become more powerful internationally. Essentially, NAFTA was created with the vision of making Canada, the United States, and Mexico, more competitive internationally and within their borders, for the benefit of their governments and citizens. Looking specifically at the United States and Canada, there was previously an economic precursor to NAFTA a bilateral agreement simply called the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This agreement came into force approximately 5 years before NAFTA, on October 4th, 1988. It shared the same principle vision as the future NAFTA agreement; to reduce trade barriers such as government barriers to competition, and liberalize the climate for investment thus allowing the easier facilitation of trade between the two countries. Reading economic reports and the opinions of pundits, youll find a lot of different opinions regarding NAFTA. One thing is known there is still a large amount of uncertainty and a lack of consensus as to whether NAFTA has been, in sum, a positive thing for Canada. Famous economists such as Nobel Winner Paul Krugman have stated that NAFTA has had a near zero effect on the Canadian economy, whereas economic reports such as one by Martin A. Anderson come out in contrary to Krugmans belief, supporting its enactment. Further in this summary, we will explore the central issues of NAFTA and its effect on Canada and its people. NAFTA and Economic Growth As previously mentioned, NAFTA remains a divisive issue. In truth, it is extremely difficult to isolate NAFTA as a variable in economic growth and other key metrics of society due to the interwoven nature of our economy. With the plethora of variables considered, it is challenging to prove NAFTA as a cause for improving economic conditions. However, it does seem that the a large amount of papers come out in support of NAFTA as an engine of economic growth, citing its positive effect on the Canadian economy by highlighting the general trend in lower unemployment rates and higher income from trade. Cited is an entry into the Journal of Economic Development with an article concerning which NAFTA member country has benefitted most from the treaty. It states that its effect on US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been minimal, whereas Canadas GDP has experienced a statistically significant increase due to the agreement. The paper goes on to theorize that this may be due to Canadas reliance on trade for its economy especially trade between NAFTA members. It goes on to say that the lack of effect on the US GDP may be due to the fact that its economy is much larger than our own, and that changes are not as clearly visible due to its scale. To put the scale of Canadian trade with the United States in perspective, in 1999, 82% of Canadian trade was trade between NAFTA nations. More recently, in 2009, 73% of Canadian exports went to the United States. The effect on such large parts of our economy being export dependent will be discussed later in this summary. Some more key metrics of changes in the Canadian economy, comparing 1995 to 2005: The unemployment rate decreased from 8.3% (1995) to 6.8%(2005). Canadian GDP was $721.26 billion in 1995 and $1024.92 billion in 2005 (values adjusted for inflation), a 42% increase. Interprovincial trade has increased 15.29% due to NAFTA since 1994. Notably, interprovincial trade increased in Alberta by 30.1%, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland by ~24%. Interestingly, British Columbias interprovincial trade share decreased by 30.39%. Trade with the United States increased by 20.41% in Saskatchewan, and 17.77% in Manitoba. Most notably, Prince Edward Island increased trade with the United States by 67.07%. In contrast, British Columbias share of trade to the United States increased by only about 1%. Some of these values may have changed due to the changing economic climate of the past 5 years. For example, the unemployment rate has since increased to a current value of 7.9%. However, when interpreting these results, a trend becomes visible the Maritimes seem to have enjoyed a much larger share of trade than prior to NAFTA. The secondary sector of the Canadian economy concerns itself with manufacturing and general industry. Following the enactment of the FTA and NAFTA, the Canadian manufacturing industry had started to experience drastic changes. Because they were no longer as insulated to international competition, labour intensive industries such as Quebecs textile industry started to decline as cheap goods from other countries began to enter the market. Though many labour intensive jobs have shifted away to cheaper outsourced locations, there are large sections of Canadian industry that are more resilient to such shifts. One of these is the high-tech sector, which employs a large amount of skilled labour and creates advanced goods such as aircraft, new types of metal alloys, and intellectual property such as software. Industries such as biotechnology are much harder to outsource given their advanced nature, allowing Canadas relatively educated populace to contribute to the growth of these sectors res ulting in a net gain of employment. Most of these high-tech firms are located in Canadas industrial core Southern Ontario and Quebec. Ontarios location is greatly conducive to creating a good environment for trade. Northern Ontario produces many primary resources, such as forest products and minerals. Exports from Ontario to the United States were about the same value as its exports within Canada. By 1998, Ontarios exports to the United States increased to 2.5x the value of trade to the rest of Canada. The automobile industry is often cited as Ontarios most important export industry as it accounts for a large share of its trade, creating an environment of dependence upon that industry. Quebec is also heavily trade dependent, with exports of 25% of Canadas information technologies, 55% of aerospace production, 30% of pharmaceuticals, 40% of biotechnology, and 45% of high tech exports. Prior to 1989, about half of Quebecs trade went to other parts of Canada, and the other half was exported. By 2002, approximately 65% of Quebecs trade leaves Canada. NAFTAs Controversies Though NAFTA has clearly influenced our economy, most visibly with an increase in our exports and GDP, many believe that his trend presents a double-edged sword. The basic question put forward is to what length do we want our exports to increase?. A more globalized, or north-Americanized, economy also increases the risk of encountering economic repercussions due to recessions or the booms and busts of other countries. The most notable example of this would be the current economic recession, which many argue is only affecting Canada because of lower demand stemming from the economic uncertainty in the United States. With increasing globalization, it is becoming apparent that the intertwining of economies will continue and that our ability to insulate ourselves from global economic conditions will continue to decrease. It can be argued that NAFTA intertwines more than our economies. A controversial statute of the agreement Chapter 11 grants corporations the right to sue the signatory countries for compensation if their investments are adversely affected through regulatory means, especially if those regulations favour local businesses or constituents. One notable case of Chapter 11 use: Ethyl Corporation (USA) v. Government of Canada. Sued over Canadas federal ban over the gas additive MMT, which some studies have linked with neurotoxic effects. Canada was forced to overturn the ban and pay Ethyl Corporation in excess of $19million in compensation. Sun Belt Water, Inc (USA) v. Government of Canada. Sun Belt Water filed a claim for $105 million arguing that Canadian legislation thwarted its plans to export bulk quantities of fresh water from Canada. This claim has yet to be settled. Another important issue of concern is the so-called softwood lumber dispute between the United States and Canada. The dispute has carried significant implications for British Columbia, as the province accounts for over half of the total logging output of Canada. In 1982 the US lumber industry logged its first complaint. Tariffs have been fluctuating since 1986, and in 2001 duties on softwood lumber imported into the United States have reached as high as 27%. Both a NAFTA panel and the World Trade Organization have issued non-binding resolutions siding with Canada against the United States. Unfortunately, the tariffs remain despite these rulings and it appears that NAFTAs ruling against the United States has not influenced its policy. As recently as 2006 a new agreement has been reached in which import duties of $4billion that were charged will be returned (a total of $5billion in duties has been collected), however, Canada will be forced to increase export taxes on its own lumber if its price falls below US $355 per thousand board feet, in order to protect US companies. NAFTA has presented several environmental concerns to Canadians. As having one of the worlds largest capacities of freshwater, Canada has been under pressure to commoditize the resource in order to allow for its trade. The case mentioned above (Sun Belt Water, Inc v. Canada) goes to show this pressure. For the time being, legislation and political will has generally opposed the bulk sale of Canadian freshwater. Final Notes In the end, it can be said with some confidence that the North American Free Trade agreement has significantly altered the Canadian trade landscape. Though trade between NAFTA nations appears to have become more pervasive, questions remain about whether the continuing integration of other national economies is truly a good thing for Canada. Some believe that our very democracy is at stake now that foreign corporations have the power to overturn Canadian policy; which at a basic level is overturning the decisions of our elected politicians the only representatives of the Canadian people.
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Life in its very essence belongs to us all. It can be turned upseide down; riding the tides of emotion, or be as still as the mist which cradles the shoreline on early winter morings. It casts veils of doubt, or visions of glory, touches our hearts, our souls, out inner most being, which onward strives until our last breath expires. Near our home, there is a beach beyond the outer pier which has work sea-battered breakwaters, high enough to sheild behind when the gusting wind has a sharp bite. All the beaches have a vague similarity, or is it my familiarity having spent most of my childhood days absorbed in playing, exploring and combing for flotsam n jetsam. Whenever time stood still it was here. It was on one such happy spring day, a day full of hope, a day where the eyes of love sees sunshine through rain. The day we met. Since early childhood Dave and I had shared many playful days on these shores. He is my best friend and I cherish him dearly. That day though was diferent. There was a sense of maturity. We didn't have the urge to build sand castles. Instead, our emotions were stirred; mine into thoughts unknown before. I found myself staring, staring into his deep blue eyes, confused yet wildly excited. A strange but wonderfully comfortable feeling which sent my heart a flutter swept over me, I was in love. My day dreaming was suddenly interrupted when Dave, with his masculine hands, carressed my shoulders and gently stroked the palms of my upturned hands and said, Ã¢â¬Å"I need to talk to you about something.Ã¢â¬ His voice was tender and carried low dulcet tones which aroused my couriosity. He sounded as though he was about to share someting which required courage. My heart skipped a beat. Thousands of thoughts immediatly buzzed in my head. He looked deep into my eyes and faltered, Ã¢â¬Å"What, what is it?Ã¢â¬ I asked nerviously. Silence fell between us. The atmosphere changed. The sea side tranquility around us was now surged with a chilled air and our visions blurred into a monet painting. Ã¢â¬Å"What is it Dave?Ã¢â¬ Dave gave a fleeting glance towards the horizion. His hands now clenched so tight that his knuckles so white. I shivered but in an instant an amazing wave of calm filled my being as we started to walk slowly, crushing the pebbles and shells beaneath our feet. He walked with his eyes focused on the ground. I halted, turned his face to mine, he looked so serious. Grabbing my hand again we walked on quicker, now trembleing. We came to an equally abrubt halt where rocks begin to climb great hights towards ancient ruins of an old fort. Sheltered from the sea spray I pleaded, Ã¢â¬Å"Dave you can tell me whats on you mind.Ã¢â¬ The silence was piercing, A chilling wind swept round my feet. Ã¢â¬Å"I have been diagnosed with Sarcoma, it is a rampant form of cancer.Ã¢â¬ Dave paused, looked away and took a deep breath. I was speechless. My heart was numbed, full senseless, I was choaked. He turned to me with tears flooding his crystal eyes, Ã¢â¬Å"I don't have long to live Beth. I am going to die!Ã¢â¬ We collapsed into each others arms. The air was now thoroughly chilling. The sea spray hiding the tears we now shared. My cool calm, collected self was now a shaking ball of sorrow. I couldn't blieve that someone so precious in my life was telling me this. I couldn't ask for details, I didn't want to. Everything in my life felt so insignificant. I couldn't start to think what pain he was feeling. We were huddleld close from the breeze, I looked into his dark eyes, so unlike before; Concious of the salty taste of sea and tears and noticing for the hundreth time the tiny innocent freckle on the end of his nose. Could I tell him how I truely felt? Should I? Simultaneously we rose to our and held hands, silently we slid down the shale and shingle to the gentle sandy banks and made our way home. That night I cried, I couldn't control the emotion, I was drowned in tears of hopelessness. I closed my eyes to be tormented with a rollercoaster of flash backs, scenes of beautiful days as if they were saying goodbye to my new life couldn't imagine my life with-out him. Morning came, I don't remember going to sleep. I strechted out of bed and caught a glimpse in the mirror I looked a wreck. My skin was tired and drained. My curtains were opened and as I gazed outside a small brid was hopping around the garden in search of food. I wish I was a bird, able to take off and fly away. I could just glide through the sky over the trees darting above the crashing waves of the perrishing sea. The following week was so strange. Dave was his usual self, but I now knew why he often frowned and never talked about the future. I tried so hard to block out the love I felt for him, but it was useless. It has been many weeks since Dave shared his devastaing news. We have watched the spring tides heave and sigh while sat on the shores' scattered rocks, surrounded with seaweed. We dabbled in pools and shared easter eggs in Ã¢â¬Ëour cave'. Now the warm summer sun, gentle and soothing allows the feeling of security, however false, sweep over us, as I notice a faint bronzing of Daves' thining body when we swim in the fresh water at our special place. A magical weekend. I woke early this moring. The summer dawns are bright and cheery. A ray of warm sun peeped through my curtains caressing the picture of Dave and I on the beach. I looked away from the image and sighed. That afternoon I went to visit Dave. When I arrived at the door his mum looked tired, warn out. Ã¢â¬Å"Hi, ermÃ¢â¬ ¦is Dave home?Ã¢â¬ I said quietly. Ã¢â¬Å"Hello Beth, Dave is not up to seeing visitors today,Ã¢â¬ I looked down to the grey, rough step. My hopes seeping away from my heart down and out my toes. An interuption in the background disturbed my empty thought as Dave called to let me through. His mum glanced at me in horror, Ã¢â¬Å"He isn't well Beth.Ã¢â¬ I nodded and wispered. Ã¢â¬Å"Don't worry.Ã¢â¬ I walked into the house and closed the door. I didn't know what to expect but I knew I wanted to bring some hapiness into his life. However, I was face with an unberable sight. Dave was so white. His stillness ominous. I had to stay strong. It was my turn to be the rock. I sat by his side, he attempted to rise out of bed but was too weak. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to act of make things seem fine. How do you make someone who is near to death see the bright side of light. Ã¢â¬Å"HowÃ¢â¬ ¦how are you?Ã¢â¬ I felt so pathetic, it was probably the worst thing to say, but I couldn't bear anymore aggitated pauses. I sat by his side for hours, not saying much, but for the first time words didn't matter. The silences became comfortable. I glance now and then over to his face, just for a moment so his face drained face didn't become fixated. It became dark. I walked over to the window and piered through to the soft skies light up by the romantic moon rised and sailing above us. Ã¢â¬Å"I must go Dave,Ã¢â¬ I gathered my coat off the chair. Ã¢â¬Å"Wait Beth, I want you to have this.Ã¢â¬ He lifted up a leather bounded scrap book. Ã¢â¬Å"What in it?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬Å"The good times.Ã¢â¬ I looked at him, smiled and said. Ã¢â¬Å"We had a lot of those haven't we? but we haven't painted the town completely red yet, we still have a long way to go.Ã¢â¬ I wasn't sure if I should have mentioned the future. But I couldn't cope with the possibility of this being the last moments we would share. Ã¢â¬Å"Will you just promise me that you'll continue to paint and complete the picture, even with out me?Ã¢â¬ I couldn't think of a reply. Deep down I wanted to tell him how I feel. But how could I think of myself? As he handed me the scrap book, he started to chough excessively. I didn't know what to do. I sat him up straight and rubbed his back. I could see every brittle bone in his body. The coughing stopped. Ã¢â¬Å"Thank you Beth, you are so special.Ã¢â¬ I was exposed to the real amount of pain he was in, tears welled up my eyes. I convinced myself I had to tell him . Not today though, not now. He needs sleep. I blew a kiss as I left the room. Several weeks passed. Dave didn't return to school. It was so lonely. Everyone felt the reality of what life and friends meant. October came, leave floated gentle curled like boats from every tree in the hospital gardens. Dave had been admitted to the local general hospital to stabilise his drug therapy and for his commfort. His mum and dad phoned to say he was coming home today and would I call later in the day. I arrived to find Dave so frail and thin. I could hardly recognise the figure before mem as he slpet, I listened to his altered breating. I went to the bedroom, window over the roofs, the moon was rising. It was a curious orange . Even in great cities people called it a harvest moon. I saw his profile reflect against the dark sky as the light shadowed across his bed for the loft beams. He stirred quietly, yawning a faint Ã¢â¬Ëhello'. Mrs Jones left the room. Sorrow filled my face. Ã¢â¬Å"What is itÃ¢â¬ Dave asked. Ã¢â¬Å"I am scared that this is the last time that i am going to see you DaveÃ¢â¬ . Ã¢â¬Å"It could well be Beth, but what have you got to be scared about?Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬ I'm scared you will die not knowing how I feel about you.Ã¢â¬ I took a deep breath, looked into his tired eyes, Ã¢â¬Å"I love you Dave, I always have and always will. You are the perfect reflection, my life.Ã¢â¬ His breath was quieter now, his eyes were shutting closed. He opened his eyes and looked at my lips, with his last effort of strength he lifted his hand and touched them. Ã¢â¬Å"Shh shh, I know Beth there is no need to worryÃ¢â¬ Our eyes were locked upon each other. My heart was beating faster as his was beating slower. His eyes turned warm and happy. Ã¢â¬Å"I love you so much Beth, I will never forget the love that we have shared and the good times we have shared togetherÃ¢â¬ He closed his eyes and became still, my tears fell on his pillow. Ã¢â¬Å"No No i criedÃ¢â¬ His mum was at my side, her voice like somebody in fear of drowning. a sound so full of despair as she collapsed in a heap over his resting body. Stunned I looked at her weak body, she was so white. I swallowed the hugh lump in my throat and put my arms around her and rocked her to and fro. Before I left the room i turned my head, wiped the teras from my eyes and whispered Ã¢â¬Å"Good ByeÃ¢â¬ The autumn walks were lonely and as the star stunned skies turned to wild winter clouds and the snow capped hills shone like diamonds, my emotions were calming down, as the sea calms after a storm. The water still heaves and can make you seasick but the dangerous waves no longer crash. Besides I have a promise to keep!
Friday, January 10, 2020
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