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L’Action | 31 August 2011
Freely translated by Anoosha Boralessa in April 2015; not reviewed by bilaterals nor any organization or person.
Francine Raynault would like to reopen NAFTA
A Member of Parliament is reckoning bringing the case of Kruger before the Canadian Parliament.
“For sure this matter will be brought before Parliament”,
commented Mrs Raynault who is reported to be very concerned by Kruger’s investment in Memphis. While the majority of local participants are interested in the participation of the Caisse de depot in this matter, Mrs Raynault wants to make a frontal attack on the issue of free trade.
Let’s recap: the Kruger business recently announced an investment of $316 million dollars in Memphis whilst two thirds of this sum is borne by the Quebec Caisse de depot et placement. The investment has allowed a hundred jobs to be created in Tennessee, jobs that could have been granted at Crab Tree.
Not for tomorrow
Mrs Raynault thinks that certain free trade policies should be reviewed to avoid job flight and salary freezes. But it is not for tomorrow. She says: “if you wanted to protect the Crab Tree workers, Kruger could pursue the government.”
Chapter 11 of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is particularly clear on this matter. States’ control over trade often amounts to granting tax credits; Mrs. Raynault believes that the government should impose “more rigorous labor laws”. Although a reopening of NAFTA may be impossible “with the government in place”, Madame Raynault wants reassurance that the subject is understood.
“Perhaps the Conservatives are not going to like it, but we are going to bring this issue before Parliament on 19th September – it is a priority for me” said Madame Raynault. She has already begun to work on this matter with her team.
In this dossier, Kruger has profited from a tax credit of $45 million dollars for the Memphis region, from lower salaries and benefits for US employees. Kruger asserts that this decision will not have any impact on Crabtree workers.
Contacted by telephone and mail this week, Christian Paradis, the Government of Canada’s Political Lieutenant for Quebec has refused to respond to questions on free trade posed by Action.