Weekly Meeting - Gordon Ritchie - Canada Economics Progress

Gord Ritchie gave an impassioned talk on the impact of Free Trade Agreements on the world, our world, how we live, work, eat, play, manufacture and export. "The last 50 years have been the golden years because of free trade and what it has brought to us -open borders, free speech. One third of all the jobs in Canada, lower inflation, faster economic growth and the strong base to build social structures have all been due to the impact of Free Trade on Canada."

He looked at the two threats to Free Tade, the first being those individuals and groups trying to stop the move towards globalization and the latest and largest threat, terrorism. Over the past decade there has been a commitment on the part of many countries to move towards global free trade. However, each attempt to work together towards unifying ideas and assisting each other has been hijacked by violent protest, protestors who are protesting in fear of corporate power, fear of free trade, fear of the U.S., fear of globalization- whether it be the Seattle Conference, the Conference in Norway, the Conference in Italy or the historic one this summer in Quebec City. A handful of protestors has slowed progress towards Global Free Trade to a stop.

Dialogue was progressing until September 11th, when a lethal threat not only stopped it in its tracks but set it back ten years. The attack was more than venum directed on the U.S. it picked the World Trade Tower putting the market into turmoil and reces-sion. Looking beyond the instant concerns are grave implications - it threatens the strength of democracy and the strengths upon which it is built - openess to ideas,openess to individuals of all religions and all cultures, to free speech and trade. Those who value free democracy should feel threatened.

At the meeting, President Richard presented a cheque for $10,000 to the Ottawa School Board's School breakfast program. The program feeds breakfast to over 4,000 kids each morning.

Thought For The Day: Take a rest - a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.

- 2001-10-05eDGE.pdf