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NAFTA: The unfinished consultation and campaign update

What’s happened in the NAFTA consultation, and an update on one of our campaign actions on the issue.

Dear OpenMedia community,

We’d like to note an error that we discovered in the processing of our campaign, at Of the over 18,000 submissions that we sent through to the government as part of its public consultation on the NAFTA renegotiations, just over 400 submissions were not sent through properly.

In an effort to correct this error, we have collected those submissions that were not properly filed, and have sent them directly to Global Affairs Canada, along with a request that they add them to the consultation findings.

OpenMedia filed an Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) request and obtained over 46,000 submissions to the government’s official national public consultation on the agreement. This is part of what cued us in to the glitch on our action.

Although the consultation process is now over and Global Affairs cannot consider any further submissions, we believe it is of utmost importance to be transparent on our mistake, and to ensure that both our community and the government are properly informed about this error, and have all public comments available and on file.

Unfortunately, despite holding a months-long consultation throughout the negotiation process, Global Affairs has at no point released the results of their consultation, or any report or summary of what they heard from the public or how they were using that to guide their negotiation strategies.

While it’s good to see this trade negotiation process included a public consultation, it’s not sufficient to hold a consultation for the sake of it. Without releasing the findings, or what the government learned from these consultations and used to guide its way through the negotiations, it’s remarkably difficult for us to hold the government accountable to the public input they received.

Even with the agreement now reached, signed on November 30, 2018 as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), we are yet to see any signs of what the government did with the submissions provided by the public.

The USMCA still has a long road ahead of it, as it makes its way through Parliament in 2019 – so please know that the fight isn’t over yet. The agreement also seems to be facing pushback in the U.S. from the Democrats — a sign that the passage of the agreement into law may not be smooth sailing.

Thank you for keeping up the fight! And please feel free to email us any questions you may have on this issue to [email protected].

Marie, on behalf of the OpenMedia team

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