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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Trade Justice Workshop: FIPA and CETA

Workshop on the FIPA and CETA: International laws created for corporations. 

"Trade is the transfer of power from citizens to corporations." Maude Barlow, Chair of the Council of Canadians 

 This workshop, given by our Trade Justice Chair, Jennifer Chesnut, will explore new generation trade pacts, the CETA and the Can-China FIPA, their purposes and consequences. We will map similarities between these deals and what they mean for the new frontier of international laws benefiting corporations. Special emphasis on Investor State Lawsuits and strategies for creating trade justice. 

 What do you think fair trade looks like? 

 Wed. Oct. 29/2014 @ 5pm EVAC, 757 Dundas St.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Annual General Meeting AND GREEN HOLIDAYS PARTY! Fri. Nov. 28

There is parking available at Catholic Central High School, kitty corner to the AGM site.

Proposed changes to by-laws:

Current Steering Committee:

     Chair:                          Roberta Cory 

     Secretary:                   Aldous Smith 

     Treasurer:                   Masoud Karimi 

     Media:                         David Heap 

     Membership:               Geoff Crealock 

     Website/Social Media: Robert Cory

Minutes of 2013 AGM:


The Council of Canadians is the VOICE of progressive Canadians in 52 cities all over Canada. It is grassroots and bottom-up in its organization, with a small paid staff of researchers in Ottawa who provide the data we need to campaign on issues. 95% of all operating money comes from individual donations. The average individual donation is $50. We are non-profit but are not a charity because we educate and lobby for social and environmental justice. Each chapter determines which issues are important to its local supporters and is as active in campaigns as time and energy allow. Our London Chapter has eight committees: 

The Solidarity Film Coalition manages the Cinema Politica film series, which shows documentary films at the Central Library on the second Monday of each month. The motto of Cinema Politica is “Screening Truth to Power”.

The Trade Justice Committee campaigns against corporate-driven international trade agreements that would take away Canadian democracy and basic rights of self- determination. It has been active in educating London City Council about the perils of the Investor-State clause of CETA, and has been instrumental in getting London City Council to vote unanimously to have the option to vote for an ‘opt-out’ of CETA. 

The Health Care Committee works with the London Health Coalition to keep health care public and is currently engaged in planning a campaign and rally for Nov. 21 in Queens Park, to resist the austerity budget and the adoption of two-tier health care in Ontario. 

The Peace and Human Rights Committee has been active in bringing back John Greyson and Tarek Loubani from an Egyptian prison, supports the boat from Gaza, and opposes war as a solution to problems, social, religious, political or otherwise. 

The Energy and Climate Committee opposes expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands and the movement of bitumen by pipeline and rail. Because we have probably gone past the threshold where our climate can right itself, our position is that any further use of fossil fuels is suicidal for humans and life on this planet. It is also our position that pipelines and rail transport of dangerous substances threaten cities, First Nations, and wildlife, and poison watersheds and rivers they pass through. We actively oppose the reversal of flow of Enbridge’s 38- year-old Line 9 pipeline, just north of London, which crosses the Thames River north of Fanshawe Lake.

The Water Committee will be approaching our new City Council next spring to ask that London become a Blue Community. This means enforcing the bottled water ban in municipal venues and committing to keeping London Hydro public. We have been supporting OPAL (Oxford People Against the Landfill) by protesting with them in Ingersoll, Woodstock, Beachville, and other nearby towns most Fridays at 3:00 pm. In 2015 we will be working with First Nations to organize a water walk along the Thames River from Tavistock to Lake St. Clair.

The Democracy Committee works with Leadnow to fight for fair elections and proportional representation, so that our election process is a more just and accurate reflection of the wishes of all Canadians.

The Food Security Committee is working with City Council to make London a pollinator sanctuary for bees and butterflies. It opposes GM foods, and supports urban agriculture and the distribution and marketing of local food.

We strongly urge citizens to go beyond emotional or intellectual sympathy with the campaigns of the Council of Canadians and to contact us and get involved. We will put you in touch with whichever committee chair is working on your favourite issue. Help make Canada THE CANADA WE WANT. 

CETA: One-Stop Shopping for Corporations

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a quintessential “new generation” trade pact. Its purpose is to open trade to areas that are managed by government at the provincial and municipal levels. Large European corporations will be able to use their trade legal “favoured nation status” to have equal access to municipal and provincial contracts on things like city energy management. After many calls to make this deal public, on September 26, 2014, the EU disclosed the massive finished document on their website. Critics are upset about the diminishmed capacity of city councils to control assets and local jobs, purchase locally, and create future policy for sustainability. There are many other questions over eighty municipal councils, associations and school boards have expressed about the CETA in resolutions to provincial and federal government. Over fifty of them have asked to be exempted from the CETA. 

These exemption requests from Victoria to Toronto make up the only movement of one level of government against another in Canada since we started using free trade to change national policy in 1989. Maybe the over fifty councils, school boards and associations do not want to be involved at all because they were not allowed to see the details. Or maybe because Canada is offering the EU a one-stop-shop website where foreign corporations will be able to see what contracts are open for them to bid from coast to coast. For more info on the one-stop-shop site see the EU’s trade portal: 

“With CETA, EU companies will be able to bid for public contracts in Canada…This includes the provincial authorities, (and) in 2011 procurements by Canadian municipalities were estimated at C$ 112 billion (approx. €82 billion)…European businesses will be the first foreign companies to get that level of access to Canadian public procurement markets. No other international agreement concluded by Canada offers similar opportunities…Canada will also create a single electronic procurement website that combines information on all tenders to ensure that the EU companies can effectively take advantage of these new opportunities.“

Jennifer Chesnut
Trade Justice Chair

Originally published on October 20, 2014 at

I’ve been thinking about how corporations are suing countries.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about transnational corporations suing countries. The fancy name for this is Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and it happens in free trade. ISDS is on my mind a whole bunch as Germany speaks out about the inclusion of ISDS in the soon to be announced CAN-EU CETA deal. 

ISDS was first employed in NAFTA , the North American Free Trade Agreement. Some say this deal, circa 1994, was the first New Generation deal partly because of its use of Investor State. ISDS is a trade legal mechanism for how the pacts are enforced. It affords corporations the opportunity to sue nation states if the profits they expected from the opening of specific sectors in a free trade deal are diminished because the country has laws or policies that prevent earnings. Ethyl Corporation was the first to successfully sue Canada in the mid nineties, for approximately 16 million, when Canada attempted to bar its gasoline additives. Researchers in Canada believed their additives could be carcinogenic. Ethyl won on the grounds that profits expected as a result of NAFTA were lost. There have been hundreds of cases administered through trade tribunals since and the number of cases launched is on the incline every year. Through leaked texts in German news and other places, critics of CETA have said that corporations will be able to sue countries when municipalities use public money for various buy-local initiatives, municipal procurement, and protection of local public management, but no ones knows for certain as the text has not been shared publicly. 

Let’s talk trade that works. Opening borders to gastronomic delights! to expertise in regions that most benefit! How about encouraging the growth of sale in specialty items (like fair trade bananas) that could give economic stability to a struggling country? But when you get into lawsuits waged in a one way direction from corporations to countries, it feels like we are no longer talking about trade. The conversations turns a whole lotta dark. People don’t like it. Investor State creates an Investor’s State superimposed on a Nation State. This is the kind of trade that makes people uncomfortable. It’s the kind of design that will sink itself. 

People from Canada, Germany, France, and many other locales in between are bidding Investor State Adieu. Adios. Au Revoir. 

We are entering a new era — one of critical trade justice understanding that will not tolerate excessive corporate rights at the expense of family and community well being — whether or not we call them new generation free trade, CETA, or we@#$@#lkflskdjfls investor state ding-a-ling.

Jennifer Chesnut 
Trade Justice Chair

Originally published on September 21, 2014 at

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A People's Ceremony to Honour the 50+ Municipalities, School Boards and Associations Requested to Be Excluded from the CETA

No to CETA! No to Investor State! 
A Big Yes to Fair Trade!

London marked the CETA completion with their own ceremony. The Council of Canadians London Chapter hosted a rally outside city hall on Thursday, September 25th at 4:30 pm to share the historic resistance of the grassroots to the CETA. With about 50 people overall, the chapter enacted a ceremony to honour municipal councils who for the first time rejected a trade pact.

London Chapter representatives, Jennifer Chesnut and Aldous Smith, gave opening remarks about this municipal trade deal and Investor State. London Chapter justice folk singer, Margo Does debuted "The CETA Song". The chapter chair, Roberta Cory, ran work parties to create the many signs, including a sign for every municipal entity that requested an opt out. Chapter members Julie Picken-Cooper and Jessie Chesnut along with other supporters led the ceremony to recognize the municipalities requesting to be excluded from the CETA.

The National Council of Canadian's CETA google map was used to collect the data. 


"We come together today on the eve before the official announcement of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement to bear witness. We stand outside city hall in recognition of the municipal movement critiquing CETA that included more than eighty resolutions passed by municipalities, school boards and associations. We gather today to thank the many great city councillors in Thunder Bay, Hamilton, North Vancouver, Essex County, Toronto, and so many others who stood up to this deal to protect local choices, local jobs, and the well-being of families. Of those many, over fifty requested to be excluded from the CETA. None of these requests have been publicly acknowledged and debated. We will acknowledge them together today."

"We stand in solidarity with the Ottawa people’s response tomorrow under the tagline “The text might be finished but the fight is just beginning”. Organized by the Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition with support from the Trade Justice Network, the Quebec Network on Continental Integration (RQIC), and Campact Germany, we stand in solidarity with you."

The event was reported by local indie media here:

Picture Credits: 
1. In blog body photo, Mike Roy of The Indignants; 
2,3,4. Kevin Jones

-- Jennifer Chesnut
          Trade Justice Chair, London CoC

Announcement of the rally:

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Monday, October 6, 2014
7:00 pm - 8:45 pm
London Public Library
Central Branch
251 Dundas St.
London, Ontario

Stevenson & Hunt Room


A Canadian film this time! 

Please be respectful of attendees who have serious allergies! 


A powerful reminder of the intimate connection between the health of our bodies and the health of our air, land and water. 

Raised in small-town Illinois, cancer seems to run in Sandra Steingraber’s family. Sandra was diagnosed with bladder cancer when she was just twenty years old. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when Sandra was in high school. Many of her aunts and uncles have struggled with the disease. One aunt even died from the same form of bladder cancer that Sandra had. But while cancer runs in her family, she cannot say that it runs in her genes. Sandra is adopted. This unusual twist led Sandra to ask what else families have in common besides their DNA. The answer is all around us: our environment. 

Based on the book:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Monthly Meeting October 9, 2014: featured speaker, Sean Quigley

Thursday October 9, 2014
6:30 pm
London Public Library
Landon Branch
167 Wortley Rd.
London, Ontario

Martha Bishop Room 

FRAGRANCE FREE EVENT! Please be respectful of attendees who have serious allergies! 

All are welcome! Free! Refreshments! 
Donations to the coffee fund accepted gratefully! 

After meet and greet and a short business meeting, 


Executive Director of Emerging Leaders London Community Network, 

will speak on 

“Where Did All Our Talent Go?”

followed by Q&A. 

"The focus of the talk will be an overview of the Economics of SWO, The Talent Drain in London, and the Inability of traditional institutions to engage with the 20 to 44 year old demographic. London has been going through a shift in economics and demographics over the last 6 years. With the huge loss of employment in our city, the mass exodus of the 20 to 44 year old demographic, and the inability of traditional clubs and institutions to resonate with this group. there is a looming choice for London. Will we look continue to look to the past or create a modern future?"

Minutes of our last monthly meeting:

October Agenda 
6:30 - 7:00 coffee, tea, snacks, social 
7:00 - 7:30 Business: Reports and Coming events 
Chair - Roberta Cory - National CoC Conference and AGM in Hamilton 
Website/social media - Rory 
Trade Justice - Jennifer - report on Anti CETA action 
Cinema Politica - Paula M. - "Finding Dawn” November 10, Central Library 
Water - Julie - Saturday, Oct. 18, Kairos sponsored conference “Downstream” 
Health - Jeff - Wed. Oct. 15, 6:00 pm Fox and Fiddle 
Energy - Roberta - Global Frackdown on Saturday, Oct. 11 
Food Security - Pollinator Sanctuary London - Margo 
OPAL actions - every Friday at 2:00 pm - call Roberta 519-601-2053 if going 
Peace - David and Paula - Friday, Oct. 10, 5:00 pm Vigil at Victoria Park 
Tabling - “Voices” event - Goodwill Building - Saturday, Oct. 18, volunteers needed London CoC AGM announcement - Jessie C., Committee Chair - Friday, November 28, 2014 
Democracy - Fair Elections and Proportional Representation 

7:30 - 8:30 Speaker: Sean Quigley - The London We Want: “Where Did All Our Talent Go?” Q and A 

8:30 - AGM committee - meet with Jessie C.
8:45 - Cleanup volunteers needed to get out by 9:00 pm November meeting - AGM