In our previous blogs we have suggested that President Obama’s commitment to fight climate change could result in direct pressure on Canada to toughen its measures against GHG emissions. How could this be so? Aren’t we an independent country? One basis for this result is an agreement collateral to NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement). The purpose of this agreement is set out on the Website of the Government of Canada. Here is what Foreign Affairs and Free Trade Canada says:
“The North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation was also negotiated and implemented in parallel to the NAFTA. It requires that each Party ensures its laws provide for high levels of environmental protection without lowering standards to attract investment. Each Party agreed to effectively enforce its environmental laws through the use of inspectors, monitoring compliance and pursuing the necessary legal means to seek appropriate remedies for violations. Each Party must also provide a report on the state of its environment, develop environmental emergency preparedness measures, promote environmental education, research and development, assess environmental impacts and promote the use of economic instruments.”
If our recollection is correct, this collateral agreement on environmental cooperation was negotiated because of concern in the US and Canada that Mexico might not be rigourous in protecting the Environment. This lax protection might suit a policy of lowering environmental costs of an industry that chose to establish a factory in Mexico. It is ironic that today Mexico is close to saint hood by its actions in unanimously adopting stringent targets for reduction of GHG emissions. In contract, Canada‘s performance is anemic, and it is our country that is in the bad books of international opinion.
Read more of our comments on this development