Nanaimo-Ladysmith incumbent Paul Manly and Green Party leader Elizabeth May talk international trade on Friday morning at Manly’s campaign office on Bowen Road in Nanaimo. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Greens want climate protection added to international trade agreements

Green Party leader Elizabeth May campaigns in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The Green Party is campaigning for environmental protection on a global scale.

Green leader Elizabeth May was in town on Friday morning with Nanaimo-Ladysmith incumbent Paul Manly to make a platform announcement regarding international trade.

The Greens want to see the World Trade Organization ‘re-vamped’ into a World Trade and Climate Organization empowered to supercede other trade agreements.

The party has long opposed investor-state settlement dispute provisions – which allow companies to sue governments for expected financial losses – in international trade agreements.

“We are proposing in our platform in this election an innovative approach to actually ensure that climate agreements should be enforced and that we can protect our climate without running up against trade deals that say that trade is more important than survival,” said May.

She said it’s her interpretation that the right to protect climate is already present in the WTO’s predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

“We need to rename and re-prioritize the work of the World Trade Organization to be the World Trade and Climate Organization so that trade agreements that have to do with protecting the climate are allowed to use trade sanctions as a way of ensuring enforcement,” she said.

Manly said Canada is exporting more oil and minerals, but not as much food or manufactured goods.

“What we are doing is more rip-and-ship economics of raw resources. This is part of a trend with international trade that we want to see stopped,” he said.

Manly said Canada’s trade agreements and investment treaties give “foreign multinationals” extraordinary rights to push projects that he said Canada doesn’t want.

“These agreements need to all be re-worked or we need another agreement which is why we’re talking about the WTO to supercede them and enshrine environmental protections and labour standards,” he said.

May said the leaders of the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP don’t understand the “pernicious, corrosive” nature of investor-state agreements and accept them as part of the business of trade.

The Green leader was heading back to the southern part of Vancouver Island on Friday to support other candidates. She noted that while she was in Nanaimo, the NDP leader happened to be in the city at the same time.

“It’s obviously a hotly contested riding. My team ran into Jagmeet Singh this morning … Small world, two leaders in the same riding,” May said. “That tells you this riding is one of the ones to watch.”

READ ALSO: Parties make last push to try to win Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding

Election day is Oct. 21.

Other candidates in Nanaimo-Ladysmith include Bob Chamberlin, NDP; James Chumsa, Communist Party; Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada; Michelle Corfield, Liberal Party; John Hirst, Conservatives; Brian Marlatt, Progressive Canadian Party; Geoff Stoneman, independent; Echo White, independent.

To find out where and how to vote, visit http://elections.ca.

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editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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