News Updates (2008)

Oct 7, 2008

Food safety, free trade and the election

Toronto Star blogger Linda Deibel, wrote about the CF election activity this week in her blog, Political Decoder:
"What does food safety have to do with free trade? A great deal, argues Common Frontiers, a Canadian group critical of the trend towards economic integration - harmonization, as it's politely put - of standards under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Rick Arnold, the group's executive director, says deregulation in the food industry in Canada has its genesis with the folks at the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), an ongoing program among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to harmonize across-the-board. In other words, standards in Canada are lowered to match those south of both borders."
-Read the full blog post here


Oct 6, 2008

Canada Must Defend Bolivia’s Indigenous-Led Democracy

In September, we were shocked by the news that at least 30 indigenous Bolivians had been massacred as they protested a wave of attacks targeting supporters of Bolivia’s indigenous-led government.
As members of First Nations living in Canada who visited Bolivia in 2006, the news of this massacre was a painful reminder of the connection we have to the struggles of indigenous peoples in all parts of the world.
In this instance, it is the struggle of the indigenous people of Bolivia. A struggle which we believe should also be a critical concern for the Canadian Government.
-Read the full article


Oct 1, 2008
Elections 2008

Canada must renegotiate NAFTA now!

(Montreal and Ottawa, October 1st 2008) – Given that the North-American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is emerging once again as an issue in the US elections, the Harper government has been quick to praise the agreement in an obvious attempt to avoid renegotiating it. We, civil society networks and organizations from Canada and Quebec, say: not so fast! This agreement not only has fundamental problems which need immediate attention, but its most notorious aspects are being reproduced in all the other ‘free’-trade agreements Canada has negotiated since.

-Read the Press release  (En français)


Sept 23, 2008

New CCPA book slams Conservative record

OTTAWA—Today the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) released The Harper Record, the most comprehensive analysis of the Conservative minority government's record to date. It's being released electronically a month ahead of the paper version "to help Canadians make informed choices about the future of their country,” says CCPA Executive Director Bruce Campbell. The Harper Record documents in exhaustive detail the Conservative government's performance over the last two-and-a-half years.

“Contrary to the general perception that this has been a moderate government, this book reveals that it, in fact, has taken significant steps to transform Canada in a very short time. Harper's very conservative vision has been advanced across a broad range of policies. It is a deeply troubling prelude of things to come,” says editor Teresa Healy, Ph.D.

Similar to previous CCPA evaluations of previous governments, this publication evaluates the Harper track record through a progressive lens. The analysts find the Harper record falls woefully short when measured against the great challenges of our time: climate change, inequality and poverty, peace and stability, educating our children, protecting our health, and managing the economy.

-The Harper Record is available for free download from the CCPA website:

July 29, 2008


On July 27th more than one and a half million Mexicans in nine states and the capital city voted on proposed legislation that would see Mexico’s nationalized energy sector opened up to foreign investment. Over 80% voted against President Calderon's privatization plans in the first of three consultations, with the next two scheduled for August 10 and 24. In Mexico City 826,000 people cast their ballots at some 5,600 voting booths. In the nine participating states, with results still trickling in from remote areas, a similar number of voters had turned thumbs down on the government's pending legislation.

- Read the Full Article

June 16, 2008

Press Alert: NAFTA

- Read the PRESS ALERT

May 08, 2008

Toronto protest against FTA with Colombia

Common Frontiers in conjunction with the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, and the Colombia Action Solidarity Committee (CASA) held a rally on Thursday, May 8th in Toronto to protest the presence of Colombian Vice-President Francisco Santos Calderon.

- Read the Media Release
- View some pictures in our Photo Gallery

May 01, 2008


Dear Mr. Bernier:

We are writing to draw your attention to an imminent threat to democracy in Bolivia. On May 4, 2008 the departmental government of Santa Cruz(Bolivia) opposed to the democratically elected government of Evo Morales, is holding an illegal referendum on autonomy. This vote has been denounced by the European Union, individual governments in Latin America and regional governmental organizations, like the Andean Pact.

- Read the full letter

April 01 , 2008


Second North American meeting of energy sector organizations from the US, Canada and Mexico

New Orleans, April 20, 2008


The Security and Prosperity Partnership for North America (SPP) was launched in March 2005 in Texas at the first Summit of Heads of State from the three countries. The SPP represents a new phase of neo-liberal integration in North America where the issue of security is closely linked to economic and trade relations. The SPP puts CEOs from the region’s transnational companies at the center of decision-making via SPP sanctioned bodies like the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC) and the North American Energy Working Group (NAEWG). This exclusive access to governments for CEOs is not only undemocratic; it also allows them to promote their corporations’ interests at the expense of the public’s interest.


To challenge the SPP’s democratic deficit, four social multi-sectoral networks in North America (ART-US, RMALC-Mexico, Common Frontiers-Canada and RQIC-Quebec) in close collaboration with their member unions, held the 1st tri-national energy sector meeting in Montreal August 18, 2007. This gathering brought together more than 60 energy worker unions and social sector delegates from Mexico, USA, Canada, and Quebec to share experiences and identify common grounds for action.


A Second North American Meeting on Energy April 20th in New Orleans

The 2nd North American Meeting of Organizations from the Energy Sector will be held on April 20 in New Orleans. If your union or organization has an interest in this ‘energy sector’ discussion and is keen to connect with others concerned about the SPP’s secretive ‘energy security’ agenda, please consider participating in this April 20th meeting. It will be an all-day session at the International House Hotel, 221 Camp Street, New Orleans. The United Steel Workers in the US are hosting this meeting – see below to view their letter of invitation. For more details on this energy sector event you can also contact Rick Arnold.


You are also encouraged to participate in the New Orleans People’s Summit Our response to NAFTA expansion that will be taking place on April 21-23 (Please see the flyer/announcement on this web-page).

- Download the USW invitation (PDF)

February 28 , 2008

The citizens of the United States and Canada have also been speaking out against the SPP as well as its precursor, NAFTA. The Mexican bureaucrats that are scripting the agreements in Los Cabos should realize that beyond just being campaign promises, the anti-NAFTA and SPP positions being expressed by the presidential pre-candidates in the United States are driven by a profound discontent among U.S. citizens against the irresponsible economic policies coming from the neo-liberal politicians and the dominant interests in all three countries.
- Read the RMALC statement

January 11, 2008

January 2 marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' (CCPA) Executive Director Bruce Campbell has written 20 Years Later: Has Free Trade Delivered on its Promise?, a study examining what's happened since and finds free trade's biggest boosters have grown wealthier but promises of better jobs and rising living standards fell short. The study takes a sample of 41 Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) member companies – the leading supporter of free trade – and finds they shrank their workforce by 19.6% while their revenues grew by 127%.
- Download the complete study from the CCPA website








Current Activity Updates (archives)

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December 30, 2008

15 Years of Damage is Enough:
NAFTA Must Be Renegotiated

January 1, 2009 marks the 15th anniversary of the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which integrates the economies of Canada and Mexico with that of the United States. For civil society networks in the three North American signatory countries, this anniversary is no cause for celebration

- Read the media release in English    en español

November 21, 2008

Obama's Agenda for Change
and the 2009 Summit of the Americas

Barack Obama’s electoral victory represents hope for a change in direction for US relations with Latin America and within the North American region– a change that departs from the Monroe Doctrine of US superiority over its 'backyard' neighbors. North American pundits have already been suggesting that a new US administration must focus its energies on the current economic crisis along with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – leaving no time to deliver on other campaign promises such as putting into practice a new ‘good neighbor’ policy in the Americas and re-visiting existing and pending free trade agreements.

- Read this special report by Rick Arnold and Manuel Pérez-Rocha

November 17, 2008

Colombian delegation visits Ottawa and Montreal

With the newly minted minority Conservative government in Ottawa preparing to ram through a free trade deal with the Colombia, a country sporting the worst human rights record in the Western Hemisphere, three Colombians travelled up to Montreal and Ottawa to speak with both legislators and activists as part of an initiative to stop the ratification of an FTA with Colombia.

- Read a brief report on their time in Ottawa and Montreal

October 23, 2008

Toronto Rally in solidarity with Colombia

marchersAn emergency picket was held on October 23rd in front of the Colombian Consulate in Toronto (Canada) in solidarity with a 24 hour work stoppage by affiliates of the Colombian Central Trade Union Federation, and with rallies being held by the Colombian student movement. The Toronto protesters raised their voices to demand strict observance of human rights in Colombia, and also chanted “hey-hey, ho-ho, the FTA with Colombia has got to go”.

-Read the media release

-View some photos from the rally

October 21, 2008

Message of President Evo Morales

The Continental Gathering of Solidarity with Bolivia in Guatemala City, October 9, 2008

pic of morales"I was going to express the way to recover the life ways of our peoples, called Live Well (el Buen Vivir), to recover our vision of the Mother Earth, that for us is life, because it is not possible for the capitalist model to convert Mother Earth into a commodity. Once again we see the profound correlations between the indigenous movement and the organizations of the social movements, which also throw in their lot in order to Live Well. We greet them so that together we can seek a certain balance in the world.

Along these lines, I want to share and propose for debate some 10 commandments to save the planet, for humanity and for life, not only at this level but also to debate among our communities, and our organizations."

-Read Evo Morales' entire message.

October 7, 2008

Canada must renegotiate NAFTA now!

Election 2008 fact sheets for activists

What is it about?

A series of one-page fact sheets each tackling a different aspect of the overall impact 15 years of NAFTA has had on Canadians. These one-pagers are posted on the Common Frontiers (CF) web site and can be downloaded and printed off directly as the need arises. Further fact sheets will be added as CF members complete them, so visit often.

Who is it for?

Activists, members of social organizations, individuals who would like to see NAFTA on the national agenda in the 2008 elections, and want candidates to state clearly where they (and their parties) stand with regard to NAFTA renegotiation and/or withdrawal from the agreement.

How are the sheets organized?

Each one-page fact sheet has a similar (but not identical) structure. The title ‘names’ the issue. The first part deals with why the issue is important, and what its link to ‘free trade’ is. The third component outlines what we want government to start/stop doing about this, followed lastly with suggestions on ‘what you can do’. At the very bottom is the CF web site address where interested people can go to view the other one-pagers in the series.

-Visit the Election 2008 fact sheets for activists page


WakeUp graphicSeptember 25, 2008

Wake up Canada!
A comic book story about the SPP

WAKE UP CANADA! Find out why we must stop the SPP! is a comic book-style educational tool produced by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

This colourful comic looks behind the semi-secretive Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) to see 'What's at stake', and 'Who's calling the shots?'.

Find out why we must stop the Security and Prosperity Partnership. Download the comic book from the CLC website by clicking on the link below to learn more.

-Click here to view this CLC publication

September 18, 2008

CF letter to David Emerson

Today, Common Frontiers sent a letter to Canadian Foreign Minister Emerson about the crisis in Bolivia.

"The democratic government of Bolivia has been under threat of partition by right wing elements in the "media luna" provinces who are opposed to Evo Morales efforts to improve conditions for the country's poor and indigenous majority by using a portion of the gas revenues to fund social programs. The US Ambassador has been asked to leave as he ignored formal warnings by the Morales government not to intervene in Bolivia's internal affairs and to cease meeting with the Governors of the four dissident eastern departments."

"Though most of the major countries in the Americas have issued statements of support for the embattled Morales government, Canada has chosen to remain silent, making a mockery of Prime Minister Harper's pledge last year to move the Americas to the top of the Canadian government's policy priorities. Canada's silence at this critical moment in Bolivia's history will undoubtedly be interpreted by the 12 nations that make up South America as tacit support for Washington's efforts to topple the Morales government. So long to the our epithet of "good neighbour" in the Americas."

Read the CF letter to Minister Emerson  English and Spanish versions

August 7, 2008

Ding, dong Doha is dead

By Rick Salutin
This article originally appeared in the August 1, 2008 Globe and Mail
It's reprinted with the kind permission of the author

We're all prisoners of our autobiographies. It determines what we have to offer to each other. I, for instance, felt a sweet little surge of schadenfreude this week when I read that the latest "Doha" round of free-trade talks in Geneva had failed. Free trade does that to me. This fall will be 20 years since the free-trade election of 1988 but it still feels like the most dire Canadian event of my lifetime.

- Read the entire column

July 4, 2008

Over a Barrel: Exiting from NAFTA’s Proportionality Clause

A new study Over a Barrel: Exiting from NAFTA’s Proportionality Clause co-authored by Gordon Laxer, professor of political economy at the University of Alberta and Common Frontiers member John Dillon, economic justice researcher at KAIROS, examines how the North American Free Trade Agreement prevents Canadians from exercising sovereignty over our own energy supplies.

Over a Barrel shows how, far from being an “energy superpower” as Prime Minister Harper claims, Canada is actually an energy colony, serving the USA’s voracious appetite for non-renewable hydrocarbons ahead of our own needs.

The study examines three scenarios in which the U.S. could invoke NAFTA to limit Canadian sovereignty. It could prevent us from a) conserving non-renewable hydrocarbons for future generations; b) setting aside natural gas for higher-value added petrochemical industries; or c) meeting eastern Canadians needs in the event of a global supply emergency.

Canadians have only 9 years of proven natural gas supplies and 13 years worth of conventional oil left and are already dependent on imports for almost half the petroleum we consume.

As the Presidential campaign of Barack Obama opens up a new re-examination of NAFTA, Canadians must seize the opportunity to reassert control over our own oil and gas resources by demanding the same exemption from the proportional sharing clause as was achieved by Mexico when NAFTA was negotiated.

- Click here to get a copy of the entire study

July 4, 2008

logoNAFTA Growing Resistance & Calls
for Renegotiation & Oversight


A PowerPoint presentation by Janet M Eaton, PhD, academic, researcher, activist and free trade critic, given June 6, 2008. This is an abbreviated version with reference only to Canadian civil society organzations.

The unabridged 60 slide power point with text, quotes, references and images chronicles the resistance to NAFTA that is rapidly emerging across North America. Civil Society groups, political parties, elected representatives, public policy centres and coalitions in Mexico, Canada and the US, as well as cross border coalitions, are all calling for the renegotiation of NAFTA.

- View the abbreviated PDF version, prepared for Common Frontiers,

The unabridged version can be viewed here.

June 27, 2008

Giving George Bush a hand on Colombia

Linda Diebel, who writes the Political Decoder blog in The Toronto Star, is writing about Canada's trade deal with Colombia:

"Canadian human rights activists accuse Stephen Harper of rushing through a trade deal with Colombia at the expense of workers in both countries in order to please George W. Bush. The U.S. President can't get his own deal through Congress over Democratic objections and "he's just trying to help Bush out," says Rick Arnold, co-ordinator of Common Frontiers, an organization focused on international relations in the Americas. The terms of Harper's agreement are so hush-hush, Arnold tells the Decoder, rights groups in Colombia are hearing negotiators there were told not to talk about it under any circumstances - especially with Canadians."

- Read the entire blog entry here

June 23, 2008

Barack Obama, K Street lobbyists
and the grab for Mexican oil

Linda Diebel, who writes the Political Decoder blog in The Toronto Star, is writing about what's happening with Mexican oil:

"Lawyers Stephen Shrybman and Hugo Neal-Leri, who've done substantial work for both unions (CUPE and CEP), spoke at various events in Mexico City and Villahermosa (in the oil state of Tabasco) and met with opposition party politicians and workers from small independent unions. It was a trip to offer moral support. Rick Arnold, from the advocacy group Common Frontiers (another trip sponsor), calls what happens to PEMEX (Petróleos Mexicanos) "a litmus test" for Latin America. His worst-case scenario would be the entire Americas being controlled by a handful of powerful energy companies."

- Read the entire blog entry here

June 16, 2008

The Future of Mexico´s Oil:
Social action to stop the energy grab!

President Calderon (in office following a disputed electoral process) is trying to privatize energy that under the Mexican Constitution belongs exclusively to the State (Article 27th). The debate is part of a social demand to halt this initiative that violates the Mexican Constitution. Mexican energy is one of the few sectors excluded from NAFTA, and one of the few still owned by the Mexican State. These debates represent one of the strongest social eruptions in Mexico since Calderon usurped power in the 2006 presidential elections, and touch an open nerve due to the role oil plays in the national identity, as well as its strategic economic importance.

- Read the complete document

June 03, 2008

The WTO’s Doha Round Will Not Solve the Global Food Crisis – Time for Real Solutions

"The global food system is in crisis. Millions of people can no longer afford or access the food they need, increasing global hunger and malnutrition. The world's governments need to act now. But the answer does not lie in deeper deregulation of food production and trade. We, concerned non-governmental organizations and social movements, urge you to reject the claims by the leaders of the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), that concluding the Doha Round is a solution to the current crisis."

To download the full letter (as a PDF document) signed by 237 organizations from 50 countries, use the links below:

- Click here for English version (172 KB)

- cliquez ici pour le français (188 KB)

(Organizations are urged to send this letter to their Trade and Ag. Ministers.)

June 02, 2008

Lima Declaration on the Agriculture and Food Crisis

In recent months the entire world has been living in a crisis of food prices. In Latin America, the most relevant expressions of this situation have taken shape in Haiti, Argentina, Peru and Mexico. Day by day the rural and urban populations are experiencing a sharp deterioration in their quality of life, threatening the construction of societies where dignity and rights prevail.

Special thanks to Jim Hodgson for English translation.

- Read the entire Declaration

May 01, 2008


Pictures from the New Orleans Gatherings

New Orleans summitDozens of labor leaders from the Canadian, US, and Mexican energy sectors, along with allies from civil society, met in New Orleans on Sunday, April 20th for the 2nd meeting of North
American energy sector organizations.

This meeting was followed on April 21st and 22nd by the People's Summit that brought people from as far away as British Columbia and Chiapas to show solidarity with the people of New Orleans in the face of the IV SPP "Three Amigos" Summit being held there.

Thanks to Tom Loudon, Stuart Trew and Carol Proulx for giving us a selection of photos from the events.

- See the pictures in our Photo Gallery

April 22, 2008


People's Summit Responds to "Three Amigos" Agenda

The "Three Amigos" of North America showed once more that they will ignore the growing clamor to renegotiate NAFTA and will continue to push our countries in the same direction through the North American Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). With the fourth Summit shrouded in more secrecy, the People's Summit gathered to build knowledge and understanding of how what is being discussed inside impacts our daily lives.


March 31, 2008


Hurricane Katrina reconstruction in 2008:
A Bush ‘showcase’ or a US Gulf Coast tragedy?

Hurricane Katrina crashed into the US Gulf Coast in August of 2005. It precipitated one of the greatest episodes of internal displacement of US residents in that country’s history with over a million people forced from their homes and communities. The US government failed to adequately protect the rights of Gulf Coast residents during displacement – particularly the poor, immigrants and people of colour, children, the elderly, disabled persons and other vulnerable populations. Almost three years have passed since Katrina, and the US government has not upheld the rights of the displaced by failing to address the need for affordable housing, health care access, and adequate employment that would enable displaced persons to come home.

In his State of the Union address in Washington last February, US President George Bush announced that he would be ‘showcasing’ his government’s Katrina reconstruction efforts while hosting in New Orleans the IV Security and Prosperity (SPP) Summit between the leaders of the US, Canada, and Mexico. The dates for this SPP Summit are April 20-22.

Grass roots organizations in New Orleans are calling on people from Chiapas to Alaska to attend The People’s Summit to be held in New Orleans, April 20-22. The organizers’ plan is to link the Gulf Coast struggle to the fight for survival in other North American communities where people are working to overcome predatory economic policies and unjust trade agreements. They've prepared a flyer with the summit details, which can be downloaded and printed for distribution.

- View The People’s Summit FLYER

- Download a printable .pdf version

Updated March 12, 2008

Security and Prosperity for whom?

Get to the truth about the SPP

A 4-part series of downloadable, educational Fact Sheets

(English fact sheets updated March 12, 2008)

Common Frontiers has REVISED this educational resource to help cut through the spin and clutter around the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) - a ‘next generation’ trade deal involving Canada, Mexico and the US. These four fact sheets dig into background issues related to the secretive SPP. They are designed for use with an organization’s members who may not know a lot about Canada’s ‘free trade’ agenda. The fact sheets also can be used as informational hand-outs at meetings/rallies.

Four fact sheets are now available for free downloads in English and French.

  • Free Trade at the Crossroads – What's up with NAFTA, TILMA and other ‘free trade' deals that Canada is currently promoting?
  • Integration by Stealth – Unpacking the secretive SPP
  • SPP and Petroleum - Uncovering the real purpose of the SPP in mobilizing Mexican and Canadian energy resources to enhance US ‘security'.
  • Alternatives to Free Trade: Thinking Outside the Box – This is what alternative trade and regional solidarity looks like!

Each fact sheet also has a What you can do section suggesting additional web sites for further learning.

The fact sheets are available in two formats, both as downloadable .pdf files. (Adobe Reader required) One is a conventional 4 page document suitable for printing on letter-sized paper. The other is formatted to be printed on both sides of an 11”X17” piece of paper which can be folded to create a 4 page booklet.

- Download your Fact Sheets here - in English and en français



March 3, 2008

NAFTA Must Be Renegotiated
A proposal from North American civil society networks

Politicians throughout North America (Canada, Mexico and the United States) are beginning to recognize what the majority of citizens already know - the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) promises have not been fulfilled and new policies are urgently needed. There is growing awareness that quality jobs have disappeared, only to be replaced by insecure and low remuneration employment, while income inequality has risen to almost unprecedented levels.

"We four civil society networks from Canada, Mexico, Quebec and the United States believe that it is absolutely necessary to profoundly revise NAFTA beginning with those aspects that have proven most damaging for the socio economic and human rights of our peoples and for the environment."

- Read the full statement

March 2, 2008

Has free trade fulfilled its promise?
The Canadian 'free trade' experience as seen from Colombia

By Mario Alejandro Valencia - RECALCA

"The study concludes by indicating that in Canada over the last 20 years, it has been large companies and their top executives that harvested the profits of the economic growth while simultaneously benefiting from enormous tax breaks. In contrast, the vast majority of Canadians have not prospered as a result of free trade....Keep in mind that all this happened in Canada, home to one of the world’s most industrialized economies. One can only imagine what would happen if Colombia was to enter into a FTA with the United States."

- Read the entire document

February 12, 2008

10 Easy Questions and 10 Tougher Ones Regarding the SPP

This fact sheet on the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) is intended to be an introductory primer on these secretive and anti-democratic tri-national discussions involving Canada, Mexico and the U.S. It consists of twenty questions unravelling what the SPP is actually about and who wins and who loses.

This document has been produced by the Mexican Research Centre CIEPAC, and was timed originally for the August 2007 SPP Summit in Montebello, Quebec. It has been updated to Feb 1st, 2008 with some support for the English translation coming from Global Exchange. CIEPAC is a member of the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC) that is a sister network to Common Frontiers-Canada.

With the next SPP Summit involving the three Heads of State scheduled for New Orleans on April 21-22, 2008 - now is a critical moment for citizens from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. to gain a deeper understanding of the crucially important decisions that are being taken behind the public's back. These 20 questions on the SPP will get you started. You can read the document online at CIEPAC's website or download a version suitable for printing.

- Read it online here
- Download a hi-res .pdf (5.5 MB) - Requires Acrobat Reader
- Download a low-res .pdf (644 kb)

February 5, 2008

4 North American Coalitions meet in Mex. City re. SPP -  NAFTA

Representatives of the 4 North American Coalitions, members of the Hemispheric Social Alliance that works on alternatives to 'free trade' in the Americas, gathered in Mexico City from January 23-27th, 2008. The Coalition representatives addressed the dangers of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) on January 25 in a packed Main Events tent during the Mexico-World Social Forum held during that week. Also on this SPP panel to provide an alternative vision of how people-centred trade could work, was a colleague from Bolivia.
Earlier on the 25th the 4 N.A. coalitions held a successful News Conference to launch their joint Statement NAFTA must be renegotiated. 5 major Mexico dailies picked up on the Statement and reported that NAFTA was not only hurting the Mexican campesinos and workers, but was also decimating decent jobs in all three countries. The Coalition reps. also participated in an hour-long radio discussion on NAFTA and SPP broadcast to several cities in central Mexico and overseas via internet.
The 4 Coalitions took the opportunity to meet and discuss joint strategies for 2008. A significant portion of the time focused on the March 5-7 meetings in Washington. The focus there will be on NAFTA Agriculture, Migration, and on the SPP. March 7 will feature meetings between progressive legislators and civil society organizations to consolidate plans to push back FTAs in North America.
There was also a meeting of the 'follow-up group' to the August 2007 Montreal Energy Sector meeting to discuss progress in joint work to date. The meeting emphasized the importance of broadening participation in this energy work in the face of  the SPP inspired assault to privatize PEMEX, as well as the overall drive to 'secure' the provision of oil and gas for the US while disregarding the negative impacts on the environment and sustainable levels of development both in Canada and Mexico - the SPP junior 'partners'.

- See more pictures in our Gallery

February 1, 2008

200,000 protestors take to the streets in Mexico City to protest NAFTA

Rally organizers for the march from the Angel of Independence to the Zocalo estimated that more than 200,000 people took part to demand that the Agricultural Chapter of NAFTA be renegotiated. Marchers also demanded that the privatization of the energy sector be halted, and that the new Social Security law be repealed.

Side note: The Globe and Mail has a mention of the march in today's Report on Business section (Page B6 - Reuters) where the crowd is described as "Thousands of mexican farmers...". The Toronto Star didn't carry the story at all.

- Report filed by Common Frontiers' Executive Director Rick Arnold, who is in Mexico for meetings with the four civil society networks. (See story below)

- Foto by María Meléndrez Parada

- See more photos in our Gallery

January 27, 2008

Photo offering to goddess Omeotl:
Renegotiate NAFTA & stop geneticaly engineered corn

An altar to the goddess Omeotl was recently found in an archeological dig in Mexico. It is thought that corn was offered up at this altar to guarantee a plentiful harvest for the next growing season.

The giant cob shown at the right travelled 300 kilometers in the "Sin maiz no hay pais" (Without corn there is no country) caravan that entered the Mexico City Zocalo on Saturday, January 26th.

A copy of this altar was erected on a centre stage in the Zocalo and corn was offered up there during the demo to bring luck in the anti-NAFTA struggles - the renegotiation of the NAFTA Ag. Chapter, and to protect against genetically engineered corn arriving from the USA.

- Report filed by Common Frontiers' Executive Director Rick Arnold, who is in Mexico for meetings with the four civil society networks. (See story below)
- Photo by Yazmín Ortega Cortés

January 24, 2008

NAFTA Must Be Renegotiated
A proposal from North American civil society networks

Politicians throughout North America (Canada, Mexico and the United States) are beginning to recognize what the majority of citizens already know - the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) promises have not been fulfilled and new policies are urgently needed.

The four civil society networks from Canada, Mexico, Quebec and the United States believe that it is absolutely necessary to profoundly revise NAFTA beginning with those aspects that have proven most damaging for the human rights of our peoples and for the environment.

- Read the full statement

January 18, 2008

Letter says US Congress won't support free trade with Colombia

Seven members of the US House of Representatives, – Michael H. Michaud (Maine), Betty Sutton (Ohio), Phil Hare (Illinois), Linda Sanchez (California), Nancy Boyda (Kansas), Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) and Keith Ellison(Minnesota) – have sent a letter from the Congress of the United States to Canadian Parliamentarians. It starts with a reminder that any future trade deals the US or Canada strike with any other country would “no doubt have an impact on both our respective economies and our unique bilateral relationship.” The letter goes on to explain why the US Congress will not support a 'free trade' deal between their country and Colombia.

- Download a .pdf version of the original letter (169 kb)
- Adobe Reader required.

January 6, 2008

“SPP violates the law, and technically speaking, it is a coup d'etat”

The North American Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) is a new attempt to strengthen neo-liberal polices in North America against the background of the difficulties and failures that both the approval of the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) have had in several countries of the continent. The SPP adds the new element of security to the commercial interests of the large transnational corporations.

Alberto Arroyo, member of the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC) and professor of Political Science at the Autonomous Metropolitan University of Mexico (UNAM) talks about the SPP and its dangers in this 2007 interview.

- Read the full interview with Alberto Arroyo

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