After months of anti-trade rhetoric from the next American president, Donald Trump, Canada must ensure that our trade deals are respected, and push for even more free trade between our two countries. Free trade -- and NAFTA in particular -- has been so beneficial to both Canada and the U.S. that common sense will have to prevail.
Go on and boycott Nestlé. Here's a handy guide to all their products. But realize that despite Nestlé being a bad corporate citizen and the world's biggest bottler of water, boycotting them will not solve the problem. The issue isn't just bottled water, it's that we allow companies to drain our water table for what amounts to free. It's time to disrupt the entire beverage market's business model, which is to extract an ingredient for basically free and sell it for an absurd amount. We need to charge them a rate for that extraction that serves the public interest.
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.
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.
Trump, a profound nationalist, is often described as an isolationist with regards to his foreign policies, namely his strong opposition to NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). This in particular would greatly affect Canada in terms of trade policy, jobs, unions, a large part of the Canadian economy, even the exchange rate if he were to actually win in the general election this November.
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.