OTTAWA, February 29, 2016- The Trudeau government’s announcement of reforms to the Investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions within the Canada-EU Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement (CETA) is nothing more than window dressing.
“The minor tweaks to CETA’s investor-state provisions do nothing to stop foreign corporations from using the threat of billion dollar lawsuits to prevent governments from enacting socially or environmentally responsible measures,” said Larry Brown, co-chair of the Trade Justice Network.
CETA’s Investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, now rebranded as the Investor Court System to further mask the pro-investor bias, will allow Europe’s richest corporations to bypass our domestic courts and sue our government for millions or even billions of dollars if a measure is deemed to threaten their future profits.
“Canada is already the most-sued developed country through ISDS. The federal government has paid more than $200 million to corporations through this mechanism so far and is facing active claims worth billions more,” said Blair Redlin, co-chair of the TJN. “As well, ISDS puts a serious chill on the ability of governments at all levels to enact legislation and public policies that protect the health and well-being of citizens or promote sustainable development. If the new Canadian government ratifies CETA, these problems will only get worse.”
The secret renegotiation also failed to address the numerous other problems with CETA including a billion dollar increase to drug prices, threats to supply-management, a ratchet mechanism that locks in privatization and restrictions to local procurement which will hurt locally sourced food programs and other buy local programs.
“Unfortunately, Minister Freeland has done nothing to fix the fundamental problems with this deal. CETA is still a terrible deal for everyday Canadians, and it cannot be ratified without thorough and transparent renegotiation,” said Brown.
TJN is an extensive and multi-sectoral network uniting environmental, civil society, student, Indigenous, cultural, farming, labour and social justice groups whose aim is to challenge the scope and secretive nature of most free trade agreements.
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For more information: Larry Brown, co-chair, Trade Justice Network