My interest in writing this paper was to combine my understanding of Canadian law and its economic systems to discuss unsustainable practices in current government policies and develop suggestions for future improvements. Over the last decade I have been attracted to a variety of topics of academic research including, financial engineering and portfolio development, Canadian education policies, and foreign investment procedures.
My previous research and writing has examined the development of the Canadian economy alongside the development of the Canadian Constitution; noting the economic solidification of the primary-resource gathering provinces, for the benefit of resource-consuming centre’s economic elite. The solution for which requires a constitutional amendment to the division of powers.
The global proliferation of international investment agreements (IIAs) and the inclusion of the principle of fair and equitable treatment (FET) in over 2000 investment treaties has resulted in the development of a broad scope of legal protections to foreign investors. This has been accomplished through investment treaties, private contractual provisions between transnational corporations and “host-states”, as well as through the resulting international investor-state jurisprudence.
This paper will explore the significance of human rights within the sphere of international investment arbitration. A breach of fair and equitable treatment is central in almost every investor-state dispute. Therefore, the majority of international investment arbitration decisions can be examined by their effects on human rights, generally, within host-states.
Argentina’s political history has experienced as much volatility as its economy. Once a top-ten economic contender in the world, Argentina has historically competed with its agricultural export sectors in international markets. Due to a growing lack of faith in Argentina by international capitalists, the country has fallen victim to their most-powerful creditors. This paper will examine the historical, economic, and political development of Argentina as well as the alleged causes and effects of their financial crises. The Argentine economy was developed as a staples-export hinterland, especially under the convertible exchange-rate years, and has been subjected to years of legal uncertainty due to lengthy litigation which ultimately caused Argentina’s second sovereign debt-default in under two decades.
“Non-Indigenous legal traditions exert violence on Indigenous legal traditions by insisting that its interpretation of law is authoritative and excluding alternate interpretations.”
“We must ensure that the order we seek to dismantle, and it must be dismantled, is reconstituted with a sustained vision of respectable relations that does not deny their genealogy. It is necessary for all of us to move beyond any crippling sense of finality in our relations, and any despairing of colonial power as totalizing. It must be asserted that a decolonized future is possible. Yet, I maintain the ultimate meaning of decolonization, liberated spaces of living and identification for Indigenous peoples, is for them to decide.”
This paper will identify how the development of the legal system in Canada, specifically the Constitution, has influenced Canada’s economy. This theory was developed in response to a general misunderstanding behind the fundamental reasons for the division of powers, and their subsequent influence on Canada’s economy. By examining Canada’s economic history through the “Staples Thesis” developed by Harold Innis, and extending the analysis through the complimentary paradigm of critical legal geography using “nomospheric” perspectives, we discover areas of inequality which have been created and maintained due to the unequal power relationships entrenched in Canada’s constitutions. In its entirety, the paper will demonstrate how Canada as a geographically-bound country, cannot be separated from Canada as a legal authority, which cannot be separated from Canada as an international capitalist economy. In application, Canada’s legal system continues to increase inequality amongst its citizens due to the socio-economic rigidities created through inefficient economic policymaking as constrained by the legal-spatial provisions in the constitution.
The first article in this series outlined the big picture view of our current education system in Canada. The second examined various methods in which to view the value of higher education. This final article will further expand on higher education in Canada, and offer an analysis of the future.
Following the post-WW2 expansion, in the 1990s we experienced political parties who have stuck with some policies while eliminating others due to the influence of the ebbs and flows of our economy’s surpluses and deficits (or whichever lobbying group had the most influence at the time). Canadians elected leaders, both liberal and conservative, that drove neoliberal policy down our throats; they were simply following in the “success” of our neighbours and allies. Neoliberalism is a term used to describe the ideology that a government is better off by reducing its expenses by privatizing its services and allowing the private sector to exist with only minimal government restrictions. This ideology has resulted in such ‘achievements’ as the most recent banking sector collapse, the destruction of the automotive manufacturing sector, increased health and education expenses, the mess of transportation infrastructure that we see today, and so much more. By reducing the government’s expenses – i.e. by firing all of the people who were in charge of running a certain “unnecessary” department, citizens run the risk of falling into a trap. A citizen/voter is now unable to request certain immediate changes regarding an area of concern, or maybe our officials are unable to rectify a decision that will affect thousands of workers to lose their jobs. By allowing our government to relinquish their control, we (as citizens) benefit by reducing the taxes we have to spend, however we are allowing profit makers to have free reign over their consumers, which blurs the distinction of who is really making the important decisions for our country. Read More
Higher Education in Canada has been something of a heated issue in recent times as the cost of tuition has risen drastically since the 1990s, and cash strapped provincial governments are increasingly hesitant to fund institutions which are not producing enough graduates in high demand areas of the economy.
Universities have faced criticism from politicians, graduates, and the public alike for producing graduates who are often unable to find work in their fields of study. The defenders of Higher Education often phrase their counter-arguments in the same language of jobs, employment, and skills, often pointing out that BA grads learn a very broad and very employable set of skills which employers are not recognizing (research, written and oral communication, etc..). Read More
This is the first article of a 3 part series, the second article of which was written by my colleague Stephen Armstrong, focusing on the current situation of education in Canada.
At the end of 2011, Canada was ranked number one when it comes to university and college enrolments, but we are also number one in the number of people with university degrees that live in poverty. Critics may pass this off as an after-effect of the 2008 recession, however even before the economic downturn, the 2006 census showed that as many as one-quarter of young people with bachelor’s degrees were holding down jobs that did not require one. These are terrifying statistics that highlight important issues within the Canadian education system, but first I would like to guide you through the journey of the institutionalization of how we learn, and further, how this affects our country as a whole. Read More
Having lived in two provinces, abroad for two years and travelling to 11 countries, I am able to speak about Canada from both a global and domestic perspective. Canada is a relatively new country on the world’s map. Being isolated from Europe and Asia, and being so new, we have had to make many mistakes in our short past in order to learn, understand, change, and improve ourselves to reach the accomplishments we have made today. Presently we are viewed worldwide as a successful country and economy, however this does not mean that we must neglect to reflect on our choices, understand why they have been made, and make the necessary adjustments to further improve our society as a whole. This must be done efficiently and constantly in order to avoid stagnation, becoming set in our beliefs, and repeating past mistakes. Read More
If you’re aged 15 or 50, if you work in retail, restaurants or really anything considered a “middle-class” job – you need to start panicking, like now…
You might be asking why, and here’s the long answer… The really long answer.
Our economy dictates that corporations, especially public ones, need to put shareholders first. This basically means that if a company isn’t trying to increase their stock price, or their income, then they run the risk of failure. This inherent drive to constantly and consistently increase profits, combined with the advancements we are making with technology, means that any job that is capable of being replaced with an iPad, will be (or the company will probably cease to exist). You might scoff at the notion that your barista, or your regular server, or your box-office ticket salesperson could ever be replaced by a touchscreen, but if you look hard enough you’ll begin to realize that this is already happening everywhere. Cineplex Odeon greets their guests with rows of touchscreen ticket booths, stores everywhere are creating self check-out lanes, and some restaurants even have conveyor belts that bring your food right to your table (after you order from your iPad of course). As technology becomes cheaper and minimum wages begin to increase, corporations will increasingly take advantage of these small investments to essentially remove the increasing costs of paying wages to humans – reducing their expenses, thereby increasing their profits and keeping their wealthy investors happy.