Canada must not ratify ‘fundamentally flawed’ European trade pact

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  • 15 Sep 2016
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Canada must not ratify ‘fundamentally flawed’ European trade pact

In solidarity with mass demonstrations taking place in Europe, Canadian groups are calling on the Liberal government not to ratify the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

CETA is highly controversial, with more than three million Europeans signing a petition against CETA and its twin agreement TTIP. And European opposition to CETA is growing, focused on the deal’s investor rights rules as well as lack of protection for public services. Those concerns, which could stop the deal in its tracks in Europe, are shared across the Atlantic by the Trade Justice Network, a coalition of Canadian unions, environmental and citizens’ groups.

As a number of EU Trade Ministers arrive in Montreal for other meeting, the TJN is calling on the Canadian government not to ratify CETA.

“Canadian International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland is pitching the Canada-EU trade deal as ‘progressive,’ but nothing could be further from the truth. CETA as written is fundamentally flawed, and favours corporate interests over those of Canadians,” said TJN co-chair Larry Brown.

Among the TJN’s key demands are:

  • Remove all investor rights rules. There is no need to bypass our public court system and use extra-judicial arbitration that favours corporations. CETA’s proposed Investor Court System is not a real improvement on flawed investor-state dispute resolution systems in NAFTA and other trade deals.
  • Protect public services from privatization.CETA puts our public services at risk by making it harder to reverse failed privatizations or expand public services in the future.
  • Stop pharmaceutical patent extensions. CETA’s patent protection provisions could increase the annual cost of pharmaceuticals in our health care system by a $1 billion or more.
  • Protect public procurement.Currently, public procurement by any government service or sector not explicitly excluded is swept into CETA. This limits the rights of provinces, municipalities, and other entities to get the most out of their procurement spending by favouring local goods and services.

Changes to CETA must be made in the body of the agreement, not in a non-binding side agreement, letter or statement.

“The Trade Justice Network stands with European workers and members of civil society mobilizing in Germany, Austria, Belgium and elsewhere to resist CETA, which has many of the same dangerous provisions as TTIP.  Overwhelming European opposition is blocking this trade deal with the U.S., and opponents recognize that CETA is simply TTIP through the back door,” said TJN co-chair Blair Redlin.

TJN statement in German

The Trade Justice Network is comprised of environmental, civil society, student, Indigenous, cultural, farming, labour and social justice organizations that have come together to challenge the scope and secret negotiating process of most free trade agreements. It emphasizes the need for a more sustainable, equitable and socially just international trade regime.

For more information:

Deb Duffy, NUPGE

613- 709-0382