Many of the promises -- increased productivity, more jobs, more money in our pockets -- have simply not come true. This is ironic because, as free trade agreements become toxic all over the world, Canada, a country bound by a long-standing trade deal, has not had a comprehensive debate on the proposed CETA (trans-Atlantic) or TPP (trans-Pacific) agreements.
The Harper government has been booted from power, and the U.K. has voted to leave the European Union. Both its national parties are in meltdown, and its new prime minister says she will negotiate her country's exit from the EU -- something that must happen within two years, once formal notice is given.
Our current first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system has regularly awarded 100 per cent power to one of Canada's two established "centrist" political parties -- the Liberal Party or the Conservative Party(formerly, Progressive Conservative Party) -- even when their share of the popular vote has been well below 50 per cent of total votes cast, nationwide.
In many countries, there is a debate over how much power we give to corporations. And it is boosting populist right-wing parties and left-wing parties that are against trade. In Europe, many of the right-wing parties are opposing free trade agreements. At the same time, from the left of the spectrum, voices such as Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are also targeting free trade.
Having toured Europe and met with both politicians and grassroots groups, I can tell you that a court system is not going to placate European activists or many parliamentarians. Some are already calling it a PR stunt that does nothing but put a Good Housekeeping seal of approval on an already flawed system.
If Keystone XL were built, it would produce 110 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, which is incompatible with effective U.S. action to cut climate pollution. Ultimately, the loser isn't the big bad Americans; it's our environment, and the right of governments to protect it for their citizens.