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NAFTA Must Include Gender Justice Among Goals, Says Canada

NAFTA just doesn't contain enough "progressive elements," according to the Trudeau administration.

Sean Kilpatrick/ZUMA Press/NewscomSean Kilpatrick/ZUMA Press/Newscom"Canada's idea of a fair trade deal seems very different from President Trump's," observed The New York Times on Monday.

That's quite an understatement.

Canada's idea seems very different from what most Americans think of when they hear "free trade" or "free markets." As Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland explained yesterday, the country wants to "modernize" the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to include "progressive elements."

As it stands, the 23-year-old trade treaty between Canada, Mexico, and the United States—enacted to eliminate barriers to open economic exchange, such as steep—already comes with conditions that go beyond reducing trade barriers. NAFTA lays down rules regarding the three countries' labor standards, agricultural sanitation measures, agricultural production practices, intellectual property rights, and other trade-adjacent issues.

But as we head into NAFTA renegotiations this week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his administration want to expand the rules to include sections on gender issues, climate change, and indigenous rights. Freeland said such changes would move NAFTA from a "free trade" deal to a "fair trade" one.

While she didn't get into specifics, we can look to a recently renegotiated trade deal between Canada and Chile for guidance. The new pact includes a chapter "acknowledg[ing] the importance of applying gender perspective to economic and trade issues" and confirming "the intention of both parties to enforce their respective international agreements on gender from a rights perspective," according to a press release from the Canadian government.

It also "provides a framework for Canada and Chile to cooperate on issues related to trade and gender, including women's entrepreneurship and the development of gender-focused indicators," and it "commits both sides to the creation of a trade and gender committee that will oversee cooperation and share experiences in designing programs to encourage women's participation in national and international economies."

At best, it's a toothless public relations move that will only serve as a boon to bureaucrats.

At worst, it's a dealbreaker for Donald Trump, who has already threatened to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA. And if that's the outcome, it's terrible news for the U.S. employment rate and for the economy overall. (Canada, meanwhile, has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA if Trump insists on scrapping a dispute-settlement section of the deal.)

Regardless of what ultimately comes to pass, Canada's plans highlight the creeping imposition of "social justice" goals into all facets of politics and economics. That's a troubling development, especially for supporters of small government, no matter how much one might supports those social aims more broadly.

For a full list of Canada's recently-released NAFTA wants—including some proposals that really are related to freeing trade, such as a measure to kill "Buy American" rules for construction projects and a call to ease work visa requirements—see the Toronto Sun.

Photo Credit: Sean Kilpatrick/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I hope he does a cartwheel on camera one time. That's all he's good for.

  • MSimon||

    Will gender fluid be a tradeable item?

  • ||

    *Oh, Canada.*

  • BambiB||

    Not only, "No", but "Hell NO!"

    Time to seal the border with Canada.

    Or maybe the counter-proposal should be that all Canadian women must surrender their drivers licenses and wear burqas.

  • Dillinger||

    for the love of all that is holy, someone please tell me wtf applying gender perspective to economic and trade issues means

  • Fuck You - Cut Spending||

    MOAR BUREAUCRATS

  • ||

    Like Facebook - only hire law firms with X% women in whatever.

  • ||

    P.S.: Is it systemic yet?

  • ||

    It could mean anything.
    Maybe it means more work visas for child-care professionals.
    Maybe it means they want lower tariffs on makeup and hair-care products.

    Also, indigenous rights? Well that's obviously referring to free trade between indian reservations on both sides of the border.

    We can use this to our advantage.

  • ||

    What gives you the impression such things are limited to minimum intervention, to facile measures (I'm not downplaying make-up)? Compare the EU. I'm too "eh" right now to look up all - (alright, have this: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/ge.....dex_en.htm) - the pertinenent EU directives (a kind of law), so here's trade agreements:

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/.....58_EN.pdf ; http://www.europarl.europa.eu/.....388_EN.pdf

  • ||

    Here's the relevant provision from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Note that these basic rights were originally understood to be confined to relations between state and citizen, excluding those between citizen and citizen. This principled fundamental distinction has largely been broken. You may note the absurd range, which gives room to arbitrary use:

    "Article 21 - Non-discrimination

    1. Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.
    2. Within the scope of application of the Treaty establishing the European Community and of the Treaty on European Union, and without prejudice to the special provisions of those Treaties, any discrimination on grounds of nationality shall be prohibited."

    Here's the German constitution, in English:

    "Article 3
    [Equality before the law]

    (1) All persons shall be equal before the law.

    (2) Men and women shall have equal rights. The state shall promote the actual implementation of equal rights for women and men and take steps to eliminate disadvantages that now exist.

    (3) No person shall be favoured or disfavoured because of sex, parentage, race, language, homeland and origin, faith, or religious or political opinions. No person shall be disfavoured because of disability."

  • ||

    Pleonasm - which is anathema to law - is by far not the only problem this has. These things give rise to all sorts of marvels of "mediate discrimination", and disparate impact.

    "Such a provision, which enables the Member States in question to maintain without temporal limitation an exemption from the rule of unisex premiums and benefits, works against the achievement of the objective of equal treatment between men and women, which is the purpose of Directive 2004/113, and is incompatible with Articles 21 and 23 of the Charter".

    So the highest European court (C‑236/09) says that "equal access to goods and services" prohibits the use of accurate sex-based statistics (here in determining risk and, consequently, insurance rates). Surely that's a field for trade agreements.

  • BambiB||

    The state shall promote the actual implementation of equal rights for women and men and take steps to eliminate disadvantages that now exist.

    So does that mean they'll be sewing penises on women or gelding men?

    https://youtu.be/c-ecbGNxEHM?t=66

  • MarkLastname||

    Yeah not likely, pretty sure it's going to mean penalties/tariffs for companies that don't employ 'enough' women.

    It takes a vivid (delusional) imagination to figure this one as a win for freedom or fairness.

  • ||

    So as to not lose all perspective, Hazel's comment is a nice counter-point.

  • Bubba Jones||

    It means Canada can have show trials for gender miscreants and China can ignore it.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    It means absolutely nothing, which in turn means that a sufficiently motivated and self-righteous SJW can interpret it to mean ANYTHING.

    That's the point.

    I fervently hope that Trump tells the Canadians to pound sand.

  • CE||

    They already were pounding sand, but then the oil prices dropped.

  • MSimon||

    The trade in gender fluid should not go unpunished.

  • Fuck You - Cut Spending||

    If NAFTA becomes fair trade instead of free trade, then GTFO is the smart move. Erecting bureaucratic barriers is the exact opposite of free trade; see "EU" for results.

  • ||

    "NAFTA - It's not another fucking trade agreement."

  • ||

    "Fair trade" is a sufficiently amorphous term that we can define it to mean whatever we want.

    Lower tariffs for small businesses! Occupational licensing reciprocity!

  • Zeb||

    Something tells me that won't be how it ends up being defined.

  • WakaWaka||

    If you like your managed trade, you can keep it

  • MarkLastname||

    Except that's not what people mean when they say 'fair trade', just like how when they say civil asset forfeiture they don't mean voluntary donations to the police pension fund.

  • ||

    As a Canadian, my advice is walk away.

    Freeland and Trudeau are a couple of SJW nitwits.

    The Liberal party: Oh how the mighty have fallen.

  • BambiB||

    "Fair Trade with Canada".

    "You (Canada) send us lumber or WE (The United States) will send you our nuclear weapons."

    Now - fair is fair, right? Everyone happy?

  • Bubba Jones||

    The concept makes sense. I guess. If you are going to hobble your own businesses with nonsense, you dont want your social justice to be subverted by imports from China. I guess

  • ||

    At worst, it's a dealbreaker for Donald Trump, who has already threatened to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA. And if that's the outcome, it's terrible news for the U.S. employment rate and for the economy overall. (Canada, meanwhile, has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA if Trump insists on scrapping a dispute-settlement section of the deal.)

    Without NAFTA who will tell us how much Labatt Blue to import?!?!? Women and Children hardest hit.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    "Women and Children hardest hit."
    Literally, eh?

  • SIV||

    Chrystia Freeland can go make me a Montreal smoked meat sandwich.

  • ||

    I wouldn't even give her the privilege.

  • Chipper Morning, Now #1||

    Ugh, those Deep South euphemisms are disturbing.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Deep South of Canada maybe.

  • Aloysious||

    Don't let that woman anywhere near a kitchen. There is no way she knows how to make a sandwich, let alone a proper sandwich.

  • Rhywun||

    his administration want to expand the rules to include sections on gender issues, climate change, and indigenous rights

    At least one -ism seems to be missing from this list. C'mon Justin, git woke!

  • Zeb||

    Jism?

  • Rhywun||

    I knew I could count on one of you.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    We must not tolerate a jism gap!

  • Chipper Morning, Now #1||

    So, a continuous stream of jism? Not many can manage that.

  • ||

    I'm sure if we train women as part of gender-balanced jism teams, we'll be able to meet any and all jism demands.

  • BambiB||

    Jismism? Is that a thing?

  • ||

    It appears to me that there is a special focus on women relative to other "historically disadvantaged groups"; so this is no anomaly. I think that's because women successfully combine "minority status" with majority size. Also, they are sexy.

  • ||

    Also, they are sexy.

    Also also, Canada playing the race card would be like Kim Jong Un threatening Guam.

  • Libertymike||

    Anything which contains "progressive elements" is contaminated, tainted, and yucky. Of course, this applies to thick libertarians who are no libertarians at all.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Of course, this applies to thick libertarians who are no libertarians at all.

    What have you got against fat libertarians? Also, I thought we were all a bunch of fat, aspie losers living in our mom's basement, so wouldn't that mean that there are no libertarians?

  • shortviking||

    Canada is practically begging Trump to drop NAFTA with this. And guaranteeing a second term.

    Thanks Canada!

  • ||

    You know what's distinctly missing? Somebody like Angela Merkel needs to take a vacation to the US and blame the xenophobic old white people for backing out of NAFTA. I would've suggested the most prominent black European leader but, to the best of my recollection they are white to the last man (woman).

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Smart strategy to deflect Trump's military aims after we deal with North Korea.

    Canada= 51st state.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Don't be silly. Canada would simply be annexed by Alaska.

  • SIV||

    No. The Maritimes become New New England.

  • Zeb||

    So trade agreements are like US federal legislation. Everyone just tack on whatever BS hobby-horse and hope no one notices.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Oh, they hope someone notices. Virtue signalling anyone?

  • WakaWaka||

    When trade agreements are just managed trade and those in favor of free trade are too busy virtue signaling to care, this is the inevitable result

  • Rhywun||

    And if that's the outcome, it's terrible news for the U.S. employment rate and for the economy overall.

    Sounds like everything gets more expensive for everybody either way. Nobody wins, yay!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Free Trade Deal Must Include Gender Goals, Says Canada
    Then its not "Free Trade".

    TOP WOMEN

  • Rhywun||

    STOP WOMEN, amirite?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Stop TOP WOMEN and TOP MEN, indeed.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Stop TOP WOMEN and bring on the topLESS women, please!

    TOPLESS MEN, we have enough of already, MORE than enough, actually... Especially with Putin prancing around!

  • ||

    "STOP WOMEN, amirite?"

    Called "STEMing the tide".

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I will have to Google that reference.

  • ||

    Beware leaking pipes. Not all is glass that shines.

  • SQRLSY One||

    But if she's got a heck of a good-lookin' set of pipes, I could see how one might take a shine to them!

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    *sings a throaty Indian death wail*

  • CE||

    ...want to expand the rules to include sections on gender issues, climate change, and indigenous rights.

    Since this is Canada we're talking about, I assume they want to make sure the US doesn't do too much to limit the global temperature rise.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Tony Heller's graphs of unaltered NOAA temperature records over at realclimatescience show that the US has been slowly cooling for decades. Canadians have every reason to be worried about a shortage of global warming.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Free Trade Deal Must Include Gender Goals, Says Canada

    Oh, piss off. "We can reduce sexism by increasing sexism."

  • WakaWaka||

    "Canada's plans highlight the creeping imposition of "social justice" goals into all facets of politics and economics"

    And the so called 'Libertarian' Party

  • John C. Randolph||

    a framework for Canada and Chile to cooperate on issues related to trade and gender,

    Right, so any Chilean who wants to file a discrimination complaint will have to run it by the Canadian embassy.

    WTF are they thinking?

    -jcr

  • John C. Randolph||

    a framework for Canada and Chile to cooperate on issues related to trade and gender,

    Right, so any Chilean who wants to file a discrimination complaint will have to run it by the Canadian embassy.

    WTF are they thinking?

    -jcr

  • Mazakon||

    want to expand the rules to include sections on gender issues

    Does that include transgender, multi-gender, no-gender or just wimminz?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Before the LP gender rights plank became Roe v. Wade, an underground railroad to Canada helped fugitive slaves escape military-industrial conscription. Canada has no laws restricting a woman's right to choose. An underground railroad to help women--from states like Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Kansas--seek individual rights and medical alternatives in Canada, could likewise advance the cause of freedom.

  • BYODB||

    Huh, so in Canada a woman can choose to abort at 9 months? How about 20 months? Asking for a friend.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    NAWTA - North American Woke Trade Agreement

  • damikesc||

    Canada's idea seems very different from what most Americans think of when they hear "free trade" or "free markets." As Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland explained yesterday, the country wants to "modernize" the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to include "progressive elements."

    Then we will pass on it. It's not that vital.

  • buddhastalin||

    This sort of SJW bullshit happens in the private corporate sphere too. I used to manage contracts at a small software company. Anytime a megacorporation wanted to contract to use our product, they would brush aside our simple 7 page contract and hand us their small font 50 pager larded with all sorts of useless, time-wasting crap. Often, and especially when the customer was a European megacorp, the contract would make us promise to respect some international NGO's declaration of human rights, basically making us promise to not use child labor and to vaguely respect unions, gender equality, the environment, blah blah blah. At first, as a matter of principle, I used to raise a big stink about these terms, but since we were a small company desperate for revenue and hence had very little time or leverage for negotiating these things, we would invariably cave and let those SJW terms stand as presented to us. I eventually came to accept such contract language as annoying virtue signaling of ultimately no practical legal effect.

  • Dan S.||

    Maybe this is just to dissuade President Trump from renegotiating NAFTA, by sending the message that the new version could include lots of nonsense that would that would make it worse than the old? No, these proposals are probably serious. If so, then (as Trump likes to say): Sad.

  • Aloisius Kohalich||

    Does this mean Trudeau wants to trade women?

  • DrZ||

    Does this mean that women will compete against men in Olympic boxing?

  • tommhan||

    This shit us insane. Trade is about goods and fairness towards countries and not Liberal ideology. GEEZE!!!

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Fuck them. Block trade from them then. What will I di without Molson and maple syrup? Oh, drink good beer and use Vermont maple syrup. So I'm covered.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    How about if we declare that Canada should include more non-morons in the PM's office, starting with the PM?

  • simplybe||

    Is there somewhere I get a ticket out of this crazy house

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