The Canada-E.U. Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiations are based on commitments to place corporate rights before social and economic justice, democratic control, and ecological sustainability. Negotiations are progressing quickly and with little public scrutiny until now.
The European Union (E.U.) wants outbound international letters deregulated, according to confidential E.U. documents. In the interim, it wants our federal government to protect European mailers who are illegally handling international mail in Canada.
The draft text of the Canada-E.U. agreement indicates that Canada may have agreed to deregulate international letters and more.
Draft text raises major concerns
The postal and courier section of the draft agreement sets up a system to facilitate competition for all postal and courier services liberalized under the agreement.
There is a requirement for an independent regulatory body and licenses for service suppliers that fall within the scope of providing “universal service”.
It is not yet clear what the agreement liberalizes. Much will depend on what the federal government agrees to exempt or commit.
The agreement could deregulate international letters. It could also dramatically reduce Canada Post’s exclusive privilege and revenue stream by deregulating addressed ad mail letters.
To date, the federal government has not responded to concerns. Details at http://www.cupw.ca/1/2/1/5/2/index1.shtml
Significance of lettermail
Canada Post has an exclusive privilege to handle letters so that it is able to generate enough money to provide affordable postal service to everyone, no matter where they live in our huge country.
The corporation’s lettermail volumes declined for the first time in 2008. It clearly needs international letters and other letters as a source of revenue to maintain and improve universal public postal service.
Government’s position on deregulation
The federal government has repeatedly attempted to pass legislation deregulating outbound international letters. One Bill (C-14) died when the 2008 election was called. Another (C-44) died when Parliament was prorogued in 2009. The government is currently attempting to ram deregulation of international letters through Parliament as part of an omnibus budget Bill (C-9) which covers “others measures”.
The Conservatives also appear to be pursuing another strategy to deregulate international letters and perhaps other lettermail. It looks like they are attempting to get through the back door of Canada-E.U. treaty negotiations, what they have been unable to accomplish through democratic and Parliamentary processes.
Opposition to deregulation
There is widespread opposition to postal deregulation in Canada. The 2008 report of Canada Post Corporation Strategic Review (CPCSR) said, “there appears to be little public support for the privatization or deregulation of Canada Post.”
What should we do?
Call your municipal councillors, provincial politicians and your Member of Parliament. Find out if they are in favour of this deal. If so, ask them how it would affect your community. Ask how it would strengthen Canada’s social, economic and environmental policies.
Tell us about your conversations. Link to the website. Share the materials. Learn more at tradejustice.ca.
Get your organization to sign the Civil Society Declaration on the Canada-E.U. trade agreement and become a member of the Trade Justice Network. email@example.com