ARLINGTON, United States — The United States has lit the fuse on one of Canada’s most politically explosive trade issues, asking in NAFTA talks for an end to the supply management system for dairy, chicken, eggs and turkey within the next decade.With that demand, the U.S. has now adopted a highly aggressive posture on virtually all the key issues expected to arise in the current NAFTA talks: it has asked to erect trade barriers in its own politically sensitive sectors, while eliminating them north of the border.The latest demands come near the end of a week-long round where American negotiators dropped one bombshell demand after another, leading the other countries to question whether the U.S. goal is to actually reach a deal or to blow up NAFTA altogether.Two sources tell The Canadian Press the request came on Sunday evening, catching some on the Canadian side off-guard, since they hadn’t expected the highly contentious issue to arise during the current round.One source says the supply-management request came with an initial phase-in period of five per cent more market access per year, leading to total duty-free, quota-free trade in protected supply-managed areas within 10 years.That adds dairy, poultry, and eggs to a list of irritants that includes auto parts, textiles, trade-enforcement panels, Buy American rules for public works and a proposed five-year termination clause embedded in the agreement, with the countries holding not just different positions, but sitting on opposite sides of gaping ideological differences.“Outrageous,” said Pierre Lampron, president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, of the latest proposal.“It would be the end of supply management…. We are not surprised by the U.S. demands, they are in line with the demands they have made in other sectors.”The Canadian government, meanwhile, is calling the idea a non-starter.Canada’s system of protections was born from a 1960s effort to stabilize dairy prices, and was later emulated in other industries. It works by limiting imports and setting fixed prices.The system’s critics say the tightly controlled program stifles innovation, bars Canadian companies from selling onto international markets, limits choice at the grocery store and saddles Canadian consumers with higher prices.The U.S. move was praised by the Montreal Economic Institute, a free-market think tank in Montreal, which urged Canadian policy-makers to seize the opportunity to dismantle a system that it says costs Canadian families an extra $339 a year in grocery bills.“You can’t on the one hand defend tariffs that sometimes reach 300 per cent for supply-managed products, then accuse the American government of being protectionist,” said Alexandre Moreau, a policy analyst with the institute.“That being said, the Canadian government should also make sure the Americans abolish their own dairy programs, and obviously offer fair compensation to farmers for their (supply-managed) quotas.”Therein lies the challenge.Defenders of the current system say eliminating it would create new problems — starting with the billions it would cost to buy out existing quotas. They say the status quo provides stability in rural communities, allows farms to survive without boom-bust cycles, and makes taxpayer bailouts unnecessary. The U.S., meanwhile, maintains numerous support programs to prop up its farmers, they note.No major Canadian political party has ever opposed the system.The federal Liberal government had said entering the talks it did not want to even discuss supply management, having promised to maintain the system. Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay said Monday: “I’ve indicated quite clearly that our government is going to fight to make sure (supply management) stays in place. To deal with anything else is simply a non-starter.”The U.S. has now tabled a series of positions far outside the realm of what Canada says it’s prepared to negotiate, prompting fears that a deal may be slipping out of reach.Indeed, the prospect of a deal by year’s end already seems impossible. With Mexico and the U.S. embroiled in national elections next year, the countries fear that a failure to get a deal by early next year will push the talks into 2019.U.S. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, keeps threatening to cancel the existing agreement, to force concessions from the other countries. Mexico’s finance minister, Jose Antonio Meade, blamed the uncertainty Monday for damaging his country’s currency.Pro-trade U.S. senator John McCain tweeted a Wall Street Journal editorial with the headline, “Trump’s NAFTA threat: Ending the pact would be the worst economic blunder since Nixon,” calling the editorial a “must-read.”The head of the World Trade Organization warned against increasing uncertainty in the global trading system. The U.S. is being accused of sabotaging the dispute panels at the international body, as it’s seeking to gut them within NAFTA.“I hope that (NAFTA) will not (end) because not only of the economic impact … but also for the systemic implications,” said WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo.“It’s very important to have these initiatives because they are the groundwork, they are the foundations of the WTO itself.”The U.S. has introduced aggressive demands in virtually every major NAFTA area:–Auto parts. The U.S. wants all cars to comprise 50 per cent U.S. content to avoid a tariff. The U.S. has requested this policy be phased in within one year — which automakers call impossible.–Dispute-resolution. The U.S. wants to gut the enforcement systems of NAFTA, making the panels for Chapter 11, 19 and 20 disputes either non-binding, or voluntary.–Buy American. The U.S. wants to severely curb other countries’ access to public works contracts.–Sunset clause. The U.S. has requested a termination clause that would end NAFTA after five years, unless all parties agree to extend the agreement.–Dairy. The supply management request follows an earlier request for a de-facto veto over Canadian milk-classification decisions, which in the case of diafiltered cheese-making products has advantaged Canadian producers.
A MESSAGE FROM THE ERC FOR DEEPAVALI 2018On this auspicious occasion of the festival of Deepavali, the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) would like to extend greetings and best wishes to all Guyanese especially our Hindu brothers and sisters.Deepavali signifies, among other things, that light will eventually triumph over darkness which is a profound source of inspiration so that all mankind can remain hopeful. It also emboldens humanity with hope giving surety that even in the face of insurmountable challenges, strength will be imbued for them to be overcome.These, and the other important lessons of Deepavali, provide guidance for us all as we continue to work assiduously towards the national goal of strengthening the bonds of friendship among our Guyanese brothers and sisters. It is through this that national harmony can be achieved so that we can confront challenges together and to remove the dark veil of division.This therefore becomes essential for the furtherance of peace and goodwill and let’s be comforted knowing that our combined efforts can realize that seemingly elusive light which can allow national harmony to shine through and for which we all yearn.Deepavali, like our other national festivals, is a much anticipated event. It has not only transcended religious boundaries, but has become a pillar of our cultural landscape. The traditional motorcades and its inherent beauty along with that of the thousands of flickering Diyas, are important conduits through splendor which bring our people from across the country together.The ERC therefore urges that we endeavor so that particular influence can be built upon for the promotion of harmony, unity and good relations among us all in this multifaceted society.As we gravitate towards that light of enlightenment, let us be reminded that Deepavali, through its significance, is replete with messages for togetherness. These, if heeded and inculcated, bode well for the advancement of our nation, its people and humanity at large.ShubhDeepavali to all!Ethnic Relations CommissionPPP/C DEEPAVALI MESSAGE 2018As our nation celebrates the festival of Deepavali, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) takes this opportunity to extend greetings to all Guyanese, especially the Hindu community.This festival which has gone beyond religious borders is one of the most anticipated events here in our country and has become a major component of the Guyanese cultural mosaic.The significance of Deepavali, known as the “Festival of Lights”, is pertinent for the upliftment of all mankind through its universal message of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil.The light of the Diyas which will shine throughout our country, symbolises a sense of renewal as light is allowed to dominate and darkness and hatred are banished.Our Party urges that this message be heeded so that darkness from the prevailing despondency, ignorance and hatred can be repelled in the interest of all humanity knowing that knowledge will defeat ignorance and compassion will triumph over despair. Deepavali offers an opportune reminder for all to do their part to achieve that victory.The influence of Deepavali over the years to forge better relationships and to bring our people together has grown tremendously. This is continually evident as Guyanese from all spheres of society participate in the various events including the grand spectacle of the motorcades and the beauty of the flickering Diyas.The PPP therefore hopes that the message of Deepavali will inspire all to work in the best interest of all Guyanese so that the light of prosperity will manifest itself in their lives.Shubh Deepavali to All!PNCR DEEPAVALI MESSAGE 2018The People’s National Congress Reform takes this opportunity to extend greetings to the Hindu Community in Guyana and indeed, to all Guyanese, on the occasion of Deepavali or Diwali.Diwali occurs on the night of Amavasya (New Moon) in the month of Kartik, which is considered to be the darkest night on the Hindu calendar and marks the return of Lord Rama after 14 years in exile. To welcome his return and to light his path, diyas were lit.Diwali is a joyous celebration of inner light over spiritual darkness; knowledge over ignorance and right over wrong. It is a festive restatement of the Hindu belief that good ultimately triumphs over evil.The PNCR has always been and will always remain respectful of Guyana’s cultural and religious diversity and believes that our diversity has worked and will continue to work to the country’s advantage. Guyana is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country. We see our diversity as an asset not a liability. Our Party is proud to belong to a society of many faiths.As we celebrate Diwali, the PNCR remains committed to ensuring unity in diversity so that our beloved country can experience real development and progress.Shubh Diwali to all Guyanese!IAC DIWALI/DEEPAVALI MESSAGE 2018The Indian Action Committee (IAC) extends Diwali greetings to all Guyanese, especially persons who are adherents of Sanatana Dharma on the occasion of the now globally-recognized festival of Deepavali or Diwali, which is derived from the Sanskrit language and means “a row of lights”. Diwali falls on the new moon night of the month of Kartika and is celebrated over a period of five days in India.The IAC is pleased to observe that the major Hindu Sabhas of Guyana have agreed upon one date for the celebration of the festival of Diwali in 2018.Diwali is associated with several mythological stories, one of them dealing with the belief of Hindus that, on the day of Diwali, Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana, King of Lanka, and that the people of Ayodhya celebrated his return by lighting thousands of diiyaas.The IAC recognizes that in Guyana the Goddess Lakshmi Maataa or Maha Lakshmi is venerated on the day of Diwali, her devotees ardently believing that their veneration of her will result in wealth and prosperity being bestowed upon them in the future.The bright lights of Diwali are believed, by Hindus, to guide and welcome Lakshmi Maataa into their homes where she can bestow her blessings on them and their families, and also to guide and welcome Lord Rama back to Ayodhya.The bright lights of Diwali are also considered to signify the illuminatory power of knowledge which destroys the darkness of ignorance and also to represent the triumph of good over evil.The IAC recognizes that at this time in Guyana, when persons should be happily celebrating the festival of Diwali, they are tens of thousands of Guyanese citizens living in desperate and punishing conditions since the collapse of the economy, especially the virtual destruction of the sugar industry which has seen over seven thousand former Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. dislocated sugar workers and their families living precariously.Members of the IAC visited rural areas on the night of Diwali 2017 and noticed that many residences that were brightly lit in previous years were reduced to having only one diiyaa at their front gate signifying severe economic stress; and many residences which were lit, had significantly reduced amounts of diiyaas which also reflected the downturn on the economy.The IAC has noted that growing economic stress is affecting the vast majority of Guyanese, especially those who are living in rural areas.The IAC is fully cognizant of the plight of all of these distressed Guyanese and is calling for the Government and the Opposition to work together to restore economic growth in Guyana and thus mitigate the troubles affecting these citizens regardless of class, religious persuasion, ethnicity and political allegiance.The IAC calls upon all Guyanese to respect the sanctity of Diwali and engage in appropriate and fitting observances and activities.Shubh Diwali.GUYANA HINDU DHARMIC SABHAFestivals are an integral part of Hinduism. Each of our festivals is associated with our scriptures. Deepavali, a national holiday, stands as one of the loveliest festivals on our calendar. It is observed annually on Amawasya (New Moon) in the lunar, Hindu month of Kartik. The word Deepavali means cluster of lights. The festival has deeper significance than the word suggests.Deepavali is synonymous with Lakshmi Puja, where homage is paid to the Goddess Maha Lakshmi, whom the Vedas describe as the eternal source of fortune and abundance. Lakshmi Puja is done not simply to seek material benefits, but equally spiritual upliftment.The observance extends over a 5 day period which begins on the 13th day of the dark half of Kartik, when a single diya is lit with a prayer for longevity. The second day an increased number is kindled, celebrating the defeat of Narkasur, a despot who disrespected and confined women. Bhagwan Krishna brought his reign of tyranny to an end. Diwali is celebrated on the third day and the light dispersed by millions of diyas dispels every form of darkness. The next day, “pratipada” in the bright half of Kartik, Goverdhan puja is performed followed by the final day of Bhai Duj. On the final day, sisters tie a thread on the wrists of their brothers renewing their love.The festival of Deepavali has philosophical, economic and social dimensions. Its social construct involves families and communities engaged in lighting diyas and meeting in a spirit of refreshing cordiality and joy. Deepavali threatens darkness in all its names and forms and influences the emergence of an illuminated society in which there exists understanding, mutual respect, love and harmony. The principal prayer at this time – “Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya”, from darkness, lead us unto light, sends the signal of hope, expectation and optimism.The Diwali Motorcade hosted by the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, is unique to Guyana and brings thousands of Guyanese of all walks of life together in a visible display of unity, peace and happiness across the country. The magnificent illuminated vehicles which display the artistry and creativity of Guyanese feature hundreds of young persons depicting various aspects of Lakshmi and divinity and reflects the myriad significances of the festival. This almost 4 decade old tradition is eagerly anticipated throughout the country as motorcades are held in all the counties with the largest moving along the scenic seawall. It would inconceivable to have Diwali without Dharmic Sabha’s motorcades as they occupy a special place in the hearts of all Guyanese.From an economic perspective. Deepavali is celebrated a time when historically the commercial community closed their books and opened new accounts. The Hindu perception of “VASUDEVA KUTUMBAKAM”, the universe is one family, fits in admirably with the emphasis on global vision and coherent action for the elimination of poverty and the construction of a world where humankind can live in a totally equitable atmosphere. Deepavali engenders prosperity and economic stability, emphasizing prayers for success, and disciplined and hard work towards goals and material gains.A deeper spiritual consciousness is rekindled by the festival. Hindus believe that every individual is a particle of the Divine and that inherent in all of us is that divine spark which, so often, is dormant and needs to be reawakened. The little diyas or earthen lamps symbolize that light within and reminds us to diligently search for it. For when that light is found, it illuminates our lives and spreads to all those whom we come in contact with.President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, Dr. Vindhya Vasini Persaud is delighted to extend greetings to all on this festive occasion and looks forward to an infinite number of years of Guyanese continuing to join together in celebrating this beautiful festival in a manner that can be emulated by the world. It is a heartwarming reminder of how beautifully we celebrate our diversity through respect for each other’s traditions, cultures and beliefs.As we observe this Diwali, she would like to remind that, Deepavali can make the most profound impact in a negative environment as it creates a climate conducive to reflections, fraternity, goodwill and mutual respect for each other. Dr. Vindhya Persaud says, “As we celebrate, let us continue our drive and advocacy for the empowerment and protection of children, women and the vulnerable against violence and abuse, equal opportunity for all, a safer and secure country, protection of citizens’ rights and welfare, and economic progress and abundance for all Guyanese. These must remain prominent on our agenda. As a people, we must resolve to rid our society of acrimony, injustice and undemocratic practices so that Guyana will always be a country of unity, peace and prosperity. I am happy to share these joyous moments of love and cordiality with all Guyanese. Let the light of Deepavali burn infinitely, eliminating darkness in all its forms and fusing us in a bond of love, respect and unity. Shubh Deepavali Greetings to all.”GAWU’s Diwali Message 2018The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) is once again pleased to join with all Guyanese and especially our Hindu community, to celebrate Diwali, widely regarded as the Festival of Lights. The Diwali observances give us an appropriate occasion to urge that the light of peace, tolerance, understanding and compromise, in today’s conditions, lighten our pathways and guide us in our daily lives. Like the thousands of Diwali diyas in many regions which will light up the darkness of the night, let our existence be unobstructed by the darkness that prevent our development and well-being.The Diwali celebration is one that today transcends one community and is supported nationally. The symbol of the lighted diyas is not only lovely to behold in the evening but it imparts the message of the value of spiritual enlightenment in our collective efforts to bring about conditions for our peace of mind and a satisfying life.With such sentiments in mind, GAWU is always pleased to be associated with the usually wide interest shown in the expectedly dazzling celebrations that are traditionally associated with Diwali.We wish all the practitioners of the Hindu faith, and indeed all Guyanese, a happy and enjoyable Diwali, the festival of lights.Let the lights, at this time, light up our pathway to harmony, economic well-being and our general upliftment.Happy Diwali! Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedDiwali greetings from religious, other organisationsNovember 10, 2015In “Opinion”DIWALI MESSAGES 2017October 18, 2017In “latest news”Diwali MessagesOctober 23, 2014In “Business”