Another local economy destroyed by “free” trade.
Canadians need to understand the context of today’s announcement that Mexican citizens will require visas to visit Canada. We also need to understand the root cause of the rising number of Mexican refugees coming to Canada.
Food products—staples such as corn and beans—are flooding into Mexico. Since the 1995 implementation of NAFTA, US corn exports to Mexico have quadrupled. These products are flowing south at prices below Mexican farmers’ cost of production, and below the cost of production in the US. Subsidies enable farmers to produce below cost. NAFTA dictates that Mexico must allow this food in. The NAFTA timetable required that on January 1, 2008, Mexico remove its final restrictions on the imports of staple food products—opening its border completely to imports of corn and beans.
Mexican farmers have been devastated by low prices for corn and other crops. Farm families have been forced off their land, and forced to relocate to large cities and border-town maquilidoras. NAFTA’s body-blow to Mexico’s farm sector has meant a rapid rise in the number of Mexicans who are landless, unemployed, poor, and desperate.
This growing number of desperately poor Mexican citizens has created social unrest and instability and, in some cases, a pool of people willing to work for the drug cartels. Expanding drug cartel violence, the attendant corruption of some police and justice officials, a growing sense of lawlessness, declining safety, and declining economic prospects have driven many Mexican families to flee their homes—some have come to Canada to try to obtain refugee status.