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.
When our democracies try to act on climate, trade agreements get in the way. For over 20 years, we have been fighting ISDS, the investor state dispute settlement clause in Chapter 11 of NAFTA, which allows companies to sue states over their decisions. It is a favourite tool of energy and mining companies.
I cannot help thinking that, while countries rush to sign trade deals such as CETA and the new TransPacific Partnership, they cannot seem to get a binding climate change agreement. Very little at the UN or in previous climate conferences has been binding. CETA and TPP are both major trade deals that must be fought.