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Canadian corporations are taking advantage of Canada’s free trade and investment agreements to undermine environmental policies in developing countries. And it’s putting the global fight against climate change–and Canada’s international reputation–at risk.
Surveillance capitalism is a large undertaking. A technical one. Sensors in our homes and on our bodies connect to towers and cables running to massive computer centres doing the data processing. A built world meant to collect, command and control our habits, and vested in a few companies.
Six years ago, documents obtained under the Access to Information Act revealed that federal spy agencies had covertly monitored several groups that had expressed opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project, including Leadnow, Dogwood, the Council of Canadians, ForestEthics (now Stand.earth), the Sierra Club Canada, and Idle No More. The documents show CSIS—Canada’s national spy agency—and the RCMP working to protect the private interests of oil and gas companies while casting the aforementioned advocacy groups as appropriate targets of surveillance.
Illustration by Kathleen Fu
Illustration by Eagleclaw Bunnie
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Google (Alphabet), Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon. They are among the world's most valuable and most trusted companies, but increasingly the most scrutinized for their data-hoarding practices, monopolist tendencies, poor treatment of workers and willingness to bend or even break privacy laws in the pursuit of growth. More data gives these and other tech firms a more accurate picture of individual tastes and broader societal trends.
On April 30, 2019, the European Court of Justice (Court) will release its decision on whether the investment court system (ICS) in the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is compatible with EU law. CETA was concluded more than two years ago, and most of it came into force at the end of 2017. However, a wave of resistance across the EU and Canada caused a stand-off in Belgium that almost sidelined the agreement.
December 2018 protest of taxi drivers (REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji)
Original graph by Jordan Brennan for Maclean's magazine.

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