Canada to Introduce NAFTA 2.0 Ratification Bill Next Week

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that his party will introduce legislation to ratify NAFTA 2.0 next week.

It’s been a while now, but there has been some new developments in the NAFTA 2.0 story. Sometimes referred to as USMCA, the agreement ultimately re-implements a number of aspects the old NAFTA agreement already has. A key difference is that the impeached US president can say that he implemented the deal and, thus, can put his name on it.

While the agreement caused a whole bunch of unnecessary chaos and uncertainty, lobbyists decided to turn this into an opportunity. Canada refused to implement some of the worst copyright laws in the world. This includes mass Internet censorship, one-sided three strikes law, or allowing for-profit lawsuits to be filed against alleged file-sharers. So, the likes of the RIAA and MPAA tried to shoe-horn as many copyright laws into the new NAFTA agreement. After that, Trump called for a massive digital rights crackdown to be implemented into NAFTA 2.0.

One highly contentious issue is the fact that it would set the floor for copyright term limits to be extended to life plus 70 years. The US and Mexico already meets that threshold. Canada, however, simply decided to abide by the international standard (per the Berne convention) of life plus 50 years. Plenty of independent analysis suggest that not only is it economically not beneficial to increase the terms to life plus 70 years, but some research suggests that shortening copyright terms might help stimulate economic activity. Of course, that doesn’t help major multinational corporations keep their grip on intellectual property forever, so they are pushing for longer terms.

Because of these reasons and more, we have been following the developments closely for what might come out of NAFTA 2.0. It seems that Justin Trudeau is saying that legislation will be tabled next week that will ratify the agreement. From Global News:

The Liberals will kick start the process of ratifying the new NAFTA trade deal when the House of Commons returns next week.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke in a press conference from Winnipeg, Man., where the Liberal cabinet has been meeting over recent days.

He said a ways and means motion — a needed first-step for fiscal bills — will be introduced on Monday while the bill to ratify the deal will come on Wednesday.

“Passing the new NAFTA is our priority,” said Trudeau.

“There are too many businesses relying on access to the U.S. market … it’s extremely important that we move forward with ratification and it’s our intention to move forward with this.”

Of course, there are certain realities worth pointing out. As some might recall, last October, Canada elected a minority government. This means that if all the opposition parties vote against something the Liberals propose, then that means the bill is defeated simply because the Liberals do not have the numbers.

While that might make it sound like there might be some drama going in to any vote, chances are, the Conservative party will likely support ratification of the “trade” agreement. While it opens up the possibility that Liberals will offer something in exchange for the votes, chances are, it will simply pass without too much drama in the first place.

Still, there is plenty to watch for. As we’ve pointed out above, there are digital rights issues at stake. So, what we’ll be looking for is what digital rights issues will crop up in the implementation bill. Will Canada finally bend to the pressure of multinational corporations and recklessly extend copyright terms or will they respect the public domain? Will there be the unmasking of domain name owners or will privacy be respected? What about last minute surprises? Certainly plenty to look out for when this legislation is tabled.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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