Resolution Number: A154
Moved By: Ethel Ahenakew, from the Diocese of Saskatoon
Seconded By: Sue Barclay,
from the Diocese of Keewatin
Note: The mover and the seconder must be members of the General Synod and be present in the House when the resolution is before the synod for debate.
BE IT RESOLVED:
That this General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada,
a) Receive and endorse the document, “What Does God Require of Us? A Declaration for Just Trade in the Service of An Economy of Life”, its twelve Principles and corresponding Policy Implications;
b) Commend its accompanying “Plan of Action – Just Trade Agreements?” to the PWRDF, and the EcoJustice and Partners in Mission Committees of the Anglican Church of Canada for follow-up;
c) Request that the Primate sign a Canadian Council of Churches titular heads letter commending the Declaration to the Prime Minister;
d) Work ecumenically through KAIROS and the Canadian Council of Churches to insure that the contents of the Declaration are integrated into the Canadian churches’ contribution to the Government of Canada’s 2004 Foreign Policy Review;
e) Direct the EcoJustice Committee to develop a “lifestyle integrity program” as suggested in the Action Plan for use in dioceses and parishes.
Explanatory Note/Background Information:
As part of an international ecumenical process addressing economic globalization, representatives of the Anglican Church of Canada participated in a “Just Trade Agreements? Churches in North America Discuss Globalization” consultation that took place in Stony Point New York in January 2004. Also present at the event were representatives of the churches in Canada, the United States and Mexico, along with attendees from Argentina, the Caribbean, Korea, and several European countries. The World Council of Churches, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Lutheran World Federation also sponsored this event.
The consultation produced “What Does God Require of Us? A Declaration for Just Trade in the Service of An Economy of Life”, together with a “Plan of Action – Just Trade Agreements” (see attached), in which the church representatives present pledged “to cooperate ecumenically for fair and just trade agreements and an economy that serves life.” The Declaration and Plan of Action emerged in response to reports and presentations on the impacts of globalization that have resulted in “debt crisis for poor countries, social deficits, poverty in the midst of plenty, the militarization of economic relationships and economic migration” (see attached press release, New York, 1/21/04). The impacts of the now ten-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement were a particular focus of attention for the consultation.
The principles outlined in the Declaration address issues such as the precedence that human rights commitments, sustainable development, poverty reduction and environmental protection must take over trade and investment agreements. National sovereignty, the safe-guarding of the well-being of all members of society, and democratic participation are also addressed, as are issues related to human security through peace building, agricultural and food security, corporate social responsibility and accountability, and transparency and meaningful citizen participation in trade and investment negotiations.
The North American consultation followed similar events in [Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America]. The Latin American consultation, “Globalizing the Fullness of Life” held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in April/May 2003 produced a message in which the church representatives present “rejected (for the genocide it represents) the immoral, impossible and eternal foreign debt”. The message called for “a broad and profound integration, based on human rights and the care of creation, that rejects the threat represented by the Free Trade Area of the Americas, militarization and other similar initiatives” (translated from original document, available in Spanish).
Over the years and through the work of the Canadian Council of Churches and such ecumenical coalitions as GATT-Fly, the Ecumenical Coalition for Economic Justice, the Inter-Church Committee on Human Rights in Latin America (the latter two now part of KAIROS), the Anglican Church of Canada has spoken out on issues related to globalization. In recent years the ACC participated in the Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative, focussed on foreign debt cancellation and in the 2001 Canadian church leaders delegation to Mexico, prior to the Summit of the Americas in Québec City (see attached letter to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien).
Resolutions from General Synod, the National Executive Council (NEC) and the Council of General Synod (COGS) dating back to 1987 have addressed both the pastoral and justice concerns related to these same issues. In 1988 for example, the NEC commended the Primate “for placing the Canada/U.S. trade issues on the agenda of the Anglican Church of Canada and for principles cited in his letter of November 1987, by which the issue may be tested”. The four principles cited were:
At the General Synod held in 1995, a motion was carried urging “the Government of Canada, in its policy to extend hemispheric free trade through an expanded North American Free Trade Agreement, to:
a) promote democracy and human rights (including social, economic, cultural and ecological dimensions to human rights) in the Latin America/Caribbean region;
b) give preferential consideration to governments which are committed to reducing military expenditure and are dedicating more resources to the education, environment, health and welfare of their populations.” (GS/1995 June 1-9/Act 50)
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