Free trade energy security and transportation
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Free Trade, Energy Security, and Transportation. Free Trade Agreements. remove tarrifs, import quotas, preferences, boundaries, and fees on most goods and services traded between signatories

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Free Trade, Energy Security, and Transportation

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Free Trade, Energy Security, and Transportation

Free Trade Agreements

  • remove tarrifs, import quotas, preferences, boundaries, and fees on most goods and services traded between signatories

  • lead to more free and open economic exchange, and (in theory) to an increase in the income, wealth, and well being for residents of the free trade regions


Free trade agreements may have some very disturbing implications, including:

  • Substitution of unelected corporate bodies for elected representatives in decision making about economic, social, and environmental policy

  • Major transformations of traditional livelihoods (e.g., family farming) by corporatization / globalization

  • Introduction of competitive players with little or no long-term interest in the welfare of the residents

  • Loss of control of resources, land, and social institutions and services, ultimately including education and health care

Free Trade and Energy Security in Canada

Energy Security in Canada


    Gordon LaxerProfessor of Political EconomyUniversity of Alberta

    Article available online at:

  • format), or


Energy Security in Canada

  • The USA and Mexico, Canada's North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, each have a policy of oil energy independence and public ownership.

  • While our NAFTA partners are looking after their own energy security, Canada is the only NAFTA country prevented from doing so.

Energy Security in Canada


  • Canada is required to continue oil and gas exports to the USA even in times of shortage.

  • Under the Proportionality Clause negotiated in the 1993 FTA, Canada can cut exports to the U.S. to deal with shortages only if it cuts the same proportion of supplies to Canadians.

Energy Security in Canada

  • Canada currently produces about 40 per cent more oil than it consumes and so should not have to worry about shortages.

  • Yet, because of NAFTA, Canada has put itself in a position that is as precarious as that of the United States, relying on imports of oil from offshore.

  • Canada now exports 70 per cent of its supply to the U.S., and imports almost 60 per cent of the oil it consumes.

Energy Security in Canada

  • The Mexicans were smart and got an exemption from energy sharing in times of shortage.

  • A national energy policy for the U.S. and a continental energy market for Canada is a “raw deal for Canada”.

  • Instead of negotiating further integration with the U.S., why not push for a Mexican-style exemption for Canada?

Example 2:Free Trade and Toxic Substances: The sad case of MMT

MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl)

  • used for many years in Canada as a fuel additive to boost octane and to prevent valve problems in old cars designed for leaded fuel

  • a suspected neurotoxin and respiratory toxin (manganese may cause memory impairment, tremors, and psychosis similar to Parkinson's Disease)

MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl)

  • banned in California and most of the US eastern seaboard

  • 85% of U.S. gasoline is MMT free

  • use of MMT in US gasoline prohibited by US EPA in 1994

  • virtually every European country has also banned the additive

  • Government of Canada banned trade and transportation of MMT in 1996 due to health concerns

MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl)

  • Ethyl Corporation (now Afton Chemical) objected

  • NAFTA Chapter 11 allows corporations to sue a government for compensation if that government passes a law that harms a corporation's profits or reputation ->

  • Ethyl used Chapter 11 of NAFTA to sue Canada for 350 million dollars - the amount Ethyl says the ban cost them in lost profits and damage to their reputation

In an out of court settlement, the Govt. of Canada:

  • paid US $13 million in damages to Ethyl Corp.

  • agreed as a part of the settlement to allow MMT back into the Canadian market

  • issued a statement through Health Canada (now buried, and available through special request only) saying that the additive poses no health threat

  • Contrast health concerns with industry position (Afton Chemical, manufacturer of MMT)

THE END OF SUBURBIAOil Depletion and the Collapse of The American Dream

Video Presentation, 2004

THE END OF SUBURBIAOil Depletion and the Collapse of The American Dream

Notes from

Since World War II North Americans have invested much of their newfound wealth in suburbia. It has promised a sense of space, affordability, family life and upward mobility. As the population of suburban sprawl has exploded in the past 50 years, so too has the suburban way of life become embedded in the American consciousness.

  • But as we enter the 21st century, serious questions are beginning to emerge about the sustainability of this way of life.

    The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply.

  • World Oil Peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary.

Questions to consider:

  • What does Oil Peak mean for North America?

  • As energy prices skyrocket, how will the populations of suburbia react to the collapse of their dream?

  • Are today's suburbs destined to become the slums of tomorrow?

  • What can (and / or should?) be done NOW, individually and collectively, to avoid The End of Suburbia ?

End of Suburbia



Escape From Suburbia

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