Connect with us

Canada

Canada prepared ahead of NAFTA talks

Published

on

Canada has made clear it is prepared for any eventuality in the face of high trade tensions with the United States ahead of a sixth round of North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations on Jan. 23 in Montreal. 

Ottawa has reiterated that it stands united in a message that the government will “stand strong” in defense of Canadian interests as top officials attend a retreat in London, Ont., a day after Reuters reported that Canadian officials believe the U.S. will leave NAFTA.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government have said from the start of NAFTA renegotiation in 2017 between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico that they are prepared for any outcome, including a U.S. withdraw, which would take six months.

Foriegn Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland  said on Thursday that it’s “no secret” that Washington could trigger a withdraw as U.S. President Donald Trump has repeated his disgust for the trade deal, once calling it the “worst trade deal” ever created.

In an apparent confirmation of the Reuters report, Freeland said Ottawa is treating the U.S. president and officials as a serious threat to talks.

“Our approach from the start has been to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” Freeland was quoted by CBC as saying, reiterating that “Canada is prepared for every eventuality”.

Trade tensions over the lumber, forestry, dairy and aerospace industries have inflamed conflict between Ottawa and Washington, even reaching high-level talks between Trudeau and Trump themselves.

However, Freeland said NAFTA negotiations are separate from the softwood lumber dispute with the United States.

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin said on Thursday that the United States will renegotiate NAFTA or “pull out” in response to an inquiry about Canada’s World Trade Organization filing that occurred on Wednesday.


More details to follow. Image of Canada and United States flags from U.S. government website.  ■

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Canada

Quebec's religious symbols ban survives ruling

The Court of Appeal would not suspend the law.

Published

on

Quebec’s contentious law banning religious symbols for public employees survived a key ruling on Thursday by the province’s Court of Appeal, however, it is not the final say on Bill 21 as more legal challenges await.

The court refused a motion by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the National Council of Canadian Muslims to suspend the law. The CCLA and NCCM argued the law was outside Quebec’s jurisdiction, was vague and violated rights guaranteed in the constitution. 

Quebec’s government claims the law aims to preserve secularism in the Francophone-dominated province. It specifically bans civil workers such as teachers and government service workers from wearing crosses, hijabs and other religious attire while working.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the bill claiming discrimination and that it is unconstitutional. Thursday’s 2-1 decision does not legally impact four separate lawsuits filed on a similar basis.

New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh came under fire during the federal election campaign for refusing to say he would intervene on the legislation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was not certain either, and said his government “might” intervene.

All three of the justices wrote in their decision that the law is causing “irreparable harm” to those impacted, particularly women, CBC reported.

  ■

Continue Reading

Campus

Province appealing to restore Student Choice Initiative

An Ontario court ruled against the SCI in November.

Published

on

File photo of Premier Doug Ford.

The provincial government under the Progressive Conservatives is applying for leave to file an appeal against a ruling from the Divisional Court of Ontario that overturned the Student Choice Initiative.

A leave for appeal is a procedural measure that must be taken before an appeal is heard by the Court. Thus, the ruling of the Court stands and the SCI continues to be deemed unlawful.

The initiative, known as the SCI, was introduced earlier this year and came into play this fall semester. It allowed students to opt-out of paying certain “non-essential” ancillary fees that fund student unions, campus publication and other post-secondary organizations across the province.

The mandate came from the university and colleges ministry and was not passed through Queen’s Park. PC Party officials insisted to The Avro Post that it allowed for freedom of choice, allowing students to pay only for services that they felt was worth their financial support.

In response, the provincial division of the Canadian Federation of Students and York University’s student union filed a legal challenge against the SCI, stating that they failed to consult with students and should not have interfered with the autonomy of student unions.

Judges ruled unanimously in November to throw out the SCI, an unexpected victory for student allies. They found that the government has “no legal power to control the universities even if it wished to”.

A brief filed by the province on Monday evening states that the ruling restricts the authority to attach conditions to the funding given to public colleges and universities, according to reports by student newspapers.

“Attaching conditions to government grants in no way interferes with university autonomy and independence,” the brief reads, adding that post-secondary institutions “remain free” to accept taxpayer dollars, subject to the conditions that come along with the funding.

Over $5 billion comes from provincial coffers to the province’s 21 publicly assisted universities and 24 funded colleges. The Progressive Conservatives argue that the introducing optional student fees is an attempt to allow students to save more financially.

The court ruling, however, pointed out that the optional ancillary fees are a small portion of what students pay in tuition and other fees. For students at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, there was only a charge of $55.95 compared to hundreds in overall fees.

The Winter 2020 semester starts in January and fees are due shortly. Some campuses are currently considering their legal options for removing the opt-out option for ancillary fees, The Globe and Mail reported.

IGNITE did not participate in the lawsuit against the province and did not offer support. The student union also refused to respond to the November ruling against the SCI until the government gave a statement. ■

Continue Reading

Ontario

High school teachers launch day-long strike

The OSSTF is now on strike.

Published

on

Photo for demonstration via Pexels.

The union representing public high school teachers launched a one-day strike on Wednesday morning after a deadline for a deal was missed, the first strike in 22 years by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.

This means that classes are cancelled at public and Catholic high schools for the day. The bargaining team for the union had remained in their caucus room since 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning but there was no provincial representation, OSSTF said.

 ■

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Zox News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by WordPress.