Organization profile published 1976

Publisher:  GATT-Fly, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1976
Resource Type:  Organization
Cx Number:  CX91

A project to assist Canadian Churches in their mission for world justice by advocating alternative economic policies.

Connexions has published numerous abstracts on GATT-FLY.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1976:

GATT-fly is a project sponsored by the Canadian Churches (Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, United and the Canadian Council of Churches and Baptists) to assist the churches in their prophetic mission for world justice by advocating alternative economic policies. It is an ongoing effort aimed at re-orienting Canadian policy towards the achievement of a just economic order. The name GATT-fly is a take-off on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), an international trade treaty instituted by the industrialized countries to reduce trade barriers and enlarge world markets. GATT-fly judges these treaties as having little regard for two-thirds of the world's poor and suggests a focus on trade and economic issues that places aid as secondary to the need for structural changes in the world economic system.
GATT-fly believes an alternative must be found:
- to the growing concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few multinationals;
- to export oriented agriculture serving the luxury consumption of the rich, mal-distribution of wealth, means of production, speculation and profiteering.
- to the notion that development can be achieved by aid, investment and loans, which in reality lead to greater dependence.
- to the trend towards higher export prices of industrial goods and commodities produced by the developed countries and lower prices for primary commodities and manufactures produced by Third World Countries.

GATT-fly is committed to participation in this struggle on the side of the oppressed through:
RESEARCH - identifying specific issues of trade and economic policies
-monitoring closely Canadian and foreign positions
-compiling data on Third World interests
-developing tools of analysis

POLITICAL ACTION - to make the voice of the Third World audible among the choruses from Canadian and international business concerns on specific issues
-enabling Canadian citizens to express their solidarity with the struggles of Third World peoples.

EDUCATION - of volunteers through the process of action and reflection
-of the Church constituency by providing information about political and economic affairs for educational programs in co-operation with the Churches and inter-church agencies
-of Canadian people in co-operation with other groups to assist them in understanding the human implications of our governmental and corporate decisions.

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This abstract, published in Connexions Digest in 1977, details an inquiry published by GATT-FLY:

In this submission to the Pipelines Inquiry, GATT-Fly begins by arguing that, in general, huge resource projects seldom contribute to the well-being of the majority of the population where the development is being carried out. The brief cites as an example the recent petroleum exploration and pipeline construction in Peru. First of all, the massive economic development associated with the pipeline disrupted the traditional lifestyle of the indigenous people in the Amazon Basin and left many of them homeless and unemployed in the end. When the project collapsed in 1974, the Peruvian goverment discovered that the original projected costs had more than doubled and that foreign loans were needed. The pipeline disaster led to a wider financial crisis in 1976; Peru's growing foreign debt has had a crippling social and economical effect upon the whole population.

GATT-Fly does not argue that the Canadian and Peruvian situations are precisely similar, however, it does encourage the inquiry to look at the actual state of Canada's econony and to measure the possible dangers of a pipeline for all Canadians. The brief claims that Canada is tending more toward dependence on foreign capital, much of which gets tied up in energy projects. The effects of foreign indebtness are clearly apparent in Canada: wage controls (AIB), currency devaluation, and social service cutbacks. The pipeline construction could easily push Canada's debts higher. In case of cost overruns for the pipeline, the Canadian government would be forced to directly intervene to save the project. Other costs of pipeline construction include environmental damage as well as diversion of investement away from othe socially useful projects. The submission concluded by proposing that there be more public input from Southern Canadians on the pipeline decision and that the land claim of the native people of the Yukon be settled and implemented.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1982:

GATT-FLY is a project of Canadian churches working for global economic justice. The name of Gatt-Fly is a play on the words "gadfly" and the "General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)", which is the international trade forum instituted by the industrialized capitalist countries for global negotiations over trade.
GATT - FLY was set up in 1973 by Canadian churches (Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United) to challenge unjust economic structures. There are four areas of research carried on: Energy, Food & Agriculture, Sugar and an educational program designed to enable workers and coalitions of groups to work on action strategies for change.
In July 1977, about 30 sugar workers from the Caribbean, Latin America, the Phillipines, the United Kingdom and Canada gathered in Trinidad for an International Sugar Workers Conference. The Conference was sponsored by GATT-FLY and the Caribbean Conference of Churches. The sugar workers came to exchange information on the situation of sugar workers in their countries, to learn more about how the international sugar economy works and to explore ways of building links of solidarity with sugar workers in other countries. This was the beginnig of what continue to be the links of solidarity with sugar workers around the world. Strikes and plant closures in Canada affect sugar workers on plantations in Latin America. Information about working conditions and pay levels in Trinidad encourage workers in the Phillipines to demand a better deal in their negotiations with plantation-owners.
GATT-FLY regularly publishes "GATT-FLY Report", which keeps its readers up to date in the areas of Energy and Food and Agriculture. "Sugar World" is published in English and "Mundo Azucarero" in Spanish as a way of keeping the contacts made in 1977 active. For a $ 12 subscription, readers will receive both publications 5 times a year. GATT-FLY has also published a number of articles and education kits. "The Power to Choose" (published in 1981 presents an evaluation of Canadian energy development systems.)

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1983:

GATT-FLY produces several publications to provide information,and to stimulate public discussion and action on issues of global economic justice.The March, 1983 issue of GATT-FLY REPORT analyses recent trends in world oil prices. Complementary to this is the March 24. 1983. issue (No.5) of ENERGY MONITOR which provides further analysis of "corporate and government energy strategies, and the struggles of popular groups to create a safe, just,and participatory energy future."

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This abstract, published in Connextions Digest in 1987, details a report published by GATT-FLY:

The conference from which this report emerges was organized by GATT-Fly, a coalition supported by various Canadian churches which undertakes research, education and action in solidarity with people's organizations struggling for economic justice in Canada and the Third World. The aim of the conference (which included eighty participants from various church, labour, farm, women's and anti-poverty groups) was to provide a forum for exploring the impact of bilateral free trade on the participants' own struggles for economic justice. They tried to situate the bilateral trade issue within a global context, examining self-reliance as an alternative to free trade and considering the ethical and theological basis for action on issues of free trade and self-reliant alternatives.

The Honourable Barry Turner, MP Ottawa-Carleton, presented the government's point of view. He was followed by speakers from universities, unions, churches, a farmer's union, a national women's organization, GATT-Fly itself, and by the president of the Mexican Workers' Party, Herberto Castillo, who brought a Mexican perspective to the discussions of both free trade and alternatives to it.

The conference statement declared this to be "a critical moment in the implemetation of a process, by which all social relations will be subject to market rules. With this agreement, transnational corporations are trying to eliminate weaker competitors and increase the pressure for a maximum reduction of their production and marketing costs." A bilateral free-trade agreement will "sanction, perhaps irreversibly, the current trend of privatization and deregulation." It "constitutes a general attack on government's ability to intervene in the economy, so as to ensure a decent livelihood and some measure of social justice for the less powerful." The conference found it "unacceptable that such an agreement is being negotiated in haste, secrecy and without a public mandate."

Clearly this conference last February understood what is becoming increasingly obvious in the free trade debate: the two sides are divided philosophically by their very different concepts of the kind of Canada they want for themselves and for their children's future.

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