72nd Annual Conference
Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs (CIPA) is one of Canada's oldest and most influential public policy institutes. Its mission is to increase the awareness and understanding of domestic and international issues amongst people in Canada, through open and inclusive discussion, without advocacy or partisanship. (www.couch.ca)
The 72nd Annual Conference, "Continentalism: What's in it for us?," took place August 7 to 10, 2003 at Lake Geneva near Orillia. 2003 marks the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Canada and the United States and the 10th year of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 2003 also marks a time of heightened concern over border issues and national security. The Conference looked at not only the impact the FTA and NAFTA agreements have had on the partners but the overall impact that closer continental ties may have on our respective fiscal realities, culture, environments and national security objectives.
The subject matter of the 2003 Couchiching Conference was closely related to the EnviReform project's work to date, including the analysis of social and environmental impacts on Canadians of existing trade liberalization through the World Trade Organization, North American Free Trade Agreement and other regimes; exploration of new strategies for regulation and risk assessment, environmental information, standard-setting, voluntary activities, sustainability assessments of trade agreements; and the participation by civil society in international trade, finance and environmental institutions.
Key Couchiching Conference participants and speakers were interviewed by EnviReform project investigators. The purpose of these taped interviews was two-fold: firstly, to ensure a knowledge transfer between the interviewers and the interviewee on the project's findings to date and secondly, to elicit opinion and expertise from the interviewees and discussion group participants on areas that impact on the further work of this project.
Participants from EnviReform:
Professor Stephen Clarkson, University of Toronto
EnviReform gratefully acknowledges the funding of SSHRC