CETA and Public Services

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.

An attack on Public Services is an attack on Equality

The strength of a nation’s public services has a direct impact on the level of equality experienced by its citizens. One of the most important goals of these negotiations, however, is to increase opportunities for trans-national corporations to create profits from public wealth. The CETA negotiations are not meant to bring the famed European “social model” to Canada, but to strengthen “private rights”.

Giving corporations the right to challenge governments

The idea of “open markets” undermines the legitimacy of public services and strongly discourages governments from introducing new ones. As a result, the threat of privatization is real. The E.U. has openly declared an interest in opening Canada’s water, electricity, and agricultural resources to corporate ownership. CETA would make it very difficult for governments to invest public resources in job creation or economic development.

An initial scoping report shows that negotiators are considering rules to undermine the ability of governments to regulate on behalf of its citizens. This would weaken qualification requirements, professional licensing, broadcast licensing, licensing for clinics, hospitals and laboratory and municipal zoning permits, to technical standards like water quality, educational quality and toxic waste disposal. Private corporations interested in transport, energy, postal services, telecommunications, and shipbuilding will benefit the most.

Trade agreements versus democracy

• Any Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union should not diminish democratic rights.

• We must protect public services as well as the right of governments to create new ones, regulate in the public interest and spend tax dollars for the benefit of society.

• Canada and the E.U. must ratify and commit to ILO Convention No. 94 protecting social clauses in procurement policy.

• Investors must not be allowed to bring governments to international trade tribunals because governments act in democratic ways.

• Governments that attack democracy and equality must be challenged and stopped.

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. info@tradejustice.ca