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Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine

March 15, 2017 - by Derek Fraser, Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria

On March 14 the Ukrainian Parliament ratified the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine. The Agreement also received on 7 March second reading in the Canadian Senate. The completion of the ratification process of the Agreement will mark a step forward in the development relations between the two countries. The Agreement. in addition to providing benefits for Canadian businesses, should support economic reform and development in Ukraine.

Canada and Ukraine also have a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (1995), a bilateral Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (1996) and a bilateral Air Transport Agreement (1998). Since the proclamation of Ukrainian independence in December 1991, when Canada was the first Western country to recognize the new state, Canada has backed Ukrainian independence, democracy and reform, with, among other things, development assistance and the Canadian military training programme. Total disbursements of Canada in 2014-15 were $505.9 millions.

Political Party Fragmentation in the Netherlands

March 13, 2017 - by Willem Maas, Glendon College, York University

Much has changed in the Netherlands since its last parliamentary elections in 2012 – but much more has changed elsewhere. The Arab Spring has turned into the Arab Winter, and the Syrian civil war has worsened dramatically, leading millions to seek refuge. Russia under Putin has invaded eastern Ukraine and outright annexed Crimea. Turkey slides towards authoritarianism and its bid to join the European Union (EU) looks stalled at best, as the Erdoğan government jails and sidelines opponents with impunity. Resurgent nationalism mixed with populism leads governments in Hungary, Poland, and elsewhere to oppose immigrants and the EU. Similar dynamics drove the votes for Brexit and Trump, which have heightened geopolitical uncertainty.

In the 2012 elections, the anti-immigrant and anti-EU party (PVV) of Geert Wilders dropped from 24 to 15 seats in the 150-seat lower house, and lost its role supporting the governing coalition. The defection of over one-third of its voters was a bitter defeat made all the more dramatic because it was Wilders himself who forced the elections by withdrawing his support from the government formed after the 2010 elections: a minority coalition of the conservative VVD (31 seats) and the Christian democratic CDA (21 seats), which depended on the PVV to pass legislation.

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