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Sat Nov 17, 2012, 06:02 PM

CETA negotiations reach critical point

After months of consultations and counter-offers, the front-line negotiators on the Canada-Europe free trade talks have gone as far as they can go.

Next Thursday in Brussels, it's time to take things upstairs, where political bosses will make the ultimate call on the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA.)

Negotiators for both sides are busy in Ottawa and Brussels narrowing the issues to the final few, which appear to include intellectual property rights (patents) for pharmaceuticals, unprecedented movement on agriculture commodities and ambitious government procurement measures.

After those ministerial talks, the EU wants to take the details to the equivalent of its cabinet: the next meeting of its foreign affairs council on Nov. 29.


BUT, from the Council of Canadians:

Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

It’s barely about trade at all – and they are negotiating behind closed doors. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement is a “next generation” free trade and investment pact that Canada and the European Union have been negotiating since May 2009. But don’t let the title fool you. The Harper government sees CETA as a way to further deregulate and privatize the Canadian economy while increasing corporate power and undermining our democratic options for the future. The EU trade deal could:

-Unfairly restrict how local governments spend money and ban “buy local” policies
-Add up to $3 billion to the price of drugs
-Increase Canada’s trade deficit with Europe, leading to significant job losses
-Empower European corporations to attack environmental and health measures
-Undermine protections for health care and culture in past trade deals
-Create pressure to increase privatization of local water systems, transit and energy
-Strip farmers of their rights to save seed

The Harper government wants to sign CETA by the end of 2012. The Council of Canadians wants to stop that from happening, at least until the public has had a chance to see the final deal, make changes, and have a real say in whether it’s brought into force or not.


This deal clearly illustrates the continued ideological hands-off approach that our government has had since the latter 1980's, with regard to protecting Canadian workers rights, farmers, environment, or investing into home grown research and development, and infrastructure.

The 1% who are clamoring for this deal, have every intention of diminishing the role of Canadian labour to that of 'drawers of water (and tar sand) and hewers of wood', encouraging farmers to sell out to big agra, and making local and provincial governments subservient to big business.

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