Media Release

Canadians to Harper: Renegotiate NAFTA with Obama

Feb 13 2009
OTTAWA – On the occasion of the first visit to Canada by US President Obama, major organizations from across Canada representing diverse sectors of the population have signed a letter to the Prime Minister calling on him to demonstrate a positive change in course for Canada's trade policy by publicly committing to a transparent and thorough renegotiation of NAFTA.  The organizations also back a call for an immediate moratorium on all bilateral free trade agreements involving Canada, and an end to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

The letter endorsed by 26 Canadian organizations points to the February 19 Obama visit as a unique opportunity for Ottawa and Washington to do some fresh thinking about trade relations that span the 49th parallel. The letter also reminds the Prime Minister that recent opinion polls show that Canadian public opinion is solidly behind the need to renegotiate NAFTA, and that Barack Obama himself is on record as favouring the opening up of this flawed trade agreement.

"We were all promised a golden future under NAFTA, but the reality for the three signatory countries is that the gap between rich and poor has grown exponentially, and government's ability to set public policy has been curtailed in favour of giving carte blanche to foreign investors" states Rick Arnold of Common Frontiers. "Canadians, Americans and Mexicans are interested in establishing economic relations based on social justice within a framework of sustainable development - a fair trade model that can create decent jobs to ensure a good life for all those who call this continent their home."

For more information or an interview:

Rick Arnold, Common Frontiers, 905-352-2430

For an interview in Toronto: John Dillon, Common Frontiers-KAIROS, 416-463-5312   Ext. 231

For an interview in Montreal: Pierre-Yves Serinet, Quebec Network on Continental Integration (RQIC), 514-276-1075

For an interview in Ottawa: Dylan Penner, Council of Canadians, 613-795-8685