|Posted by winnipeg chapter on February 8, 2013 at 2:40 PM||comments (0)|
More and more bad news on the CETA front - it's now confirmed that CETA would severely limit the way government spends tax dollars to build healthy local economies and provide public services that are truly public.
No other free trade deal has reached so far into the pockets of taxpayers, and imposed such limitations on government's ability to govern. With government purchases in Manitoba totaling $5 - $8 billion annually, there's an enormous amount of good that can be done when decision makers put that money into local economies. Gaining control (through the rules of free trade agreements and CETA in particular) over how that money is spent is an incredible boon to corporate and business interests.
"Under existing free trade agreements, public expenditure is one of the few remaining policy tools provincial and municipal governments can use to directly support regional economic development, increase productivity, promote environmental policies and support disadvantaged communities." ff
Foreign takeovers of our natural resources become much more likely - indeed inevitable - as investment restrictions are lifted in areas such as energy, agri-food, mining and natural resource extraction in particular.
"CETA could remove the ability of the provincial government to require that jobs and business opportunities are created for Manitobans as a condition for the depletion of the province’s non-renewable resources by foreign investors." ff
Because of the European demand for longer pharmaceutical patent protections, Manitobans will have to pay an additional $42 million in drug costs, and the Pharmacare program will bear the burden of an extra $38 million a year. Less expensive generic drugs will be shelved for several more years until patents run out on name brand - and expensive - drugs, so that pharmaceutical companies can increase already high profits.
When governments attempt to regulate water or air quality for the benefit of citizens, corporations can (and will, as has already happened under NAFTA Chapter 11) demand compensation for loss of profits due to new anti-pollution or green energy requirements.
"An American firm has recently launched a $250 million claim for compensation due to Quebec’s recent environmental moratorium on fracking for natural gas underneath the St. Lawrence River." ff
Public services, once turned over to a private corporation, may never become public again, even if the private business cannot provide a minimum level of service, hikes fees for essentials like water, or fails altogether. Here in Winnipeg, we are already under contract to Veolia, one of the largest water corporations in the world, known to have been found guilty of many labour and human rights violations. Once CETA is signed, there's a good chance we'll be stuck with them - and many more profit-first corporations without any interest in local economies, or local people.
"The recent leaks from the high stakes “end game” negotiations indicate that the capacity of governments in Canada to promote the interests of their citizens and communities is being traded away while Canadians are largely unaware of what is at stake." ff
Please contact your MLA and tell them that CETA would be a bad deal for Manitobans. For some easy ways to talk to your MLA please check out our blog posting from this time last year. Let's stop CETA here!
Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter 2012 Stop CETA Campaign
ff - CCPA Fast Facts: Canada - EU Trade Deal Bad for Manitoba
Full 42 page report: CETA: Constraining Manitoba's Economic Prospects and Policy Options
CETA - The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada
|Posted by winnipeg chapter on June 15, 2012 at 5:40 PM||comments (0)|
On Monday June 11, representatives from the Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter, the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg and CCEDNet (Canadian Community Economic Development) Manitoba met with Peter Bjornson (the Minister for Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade), to discuss CETA. The Minister admitted to sleepless nights regarding his concerns about this trade deal. Despite his apprehension, he was unable to answer our questions.
Bjornson explained that Manitoba - along with every other province and territory - chose to be part of the negotiations, in an effort to protect our interests and fight for the best possible deal for Manitobans. To be permitted at the negotiating table, the province had to sign a confidentiality agreement with the federal government. This means that our elected representatives cannot tell us what they are negotiating on our behalf. If they chose to refuse a confidentiality agreement, Manitoba would have no presence and no say in what the federal government decided to do with our resources, public services and crown corporations.
Earlier this year, the Winnipeg chapter sent a letter to the Minister and to the Premier asking them to keep Manitoba out of CETA. That letter received a reply (link to PDF) from Minister Bjornson and we duly responded with very specific questions and a request for clarification. Shortly afterward, the Minister invited us to meet in person to discuss our concerns.
At the meeting, our questions were repeatedly met with the same frustrated response - that because of the confidentiality agreement, Minister Bjornson could not answer us. What kind of democracy is it that allows one level of government to muzzle another, and refuses to make public the terms of a deal that with effect us all?
This isn’t the Manitoba Govenment’s trade deal and they have expressed a lot of the same concerns that we have. The Minister and government are unable to do more than flag concerns, ask the federal government to respect Manitoba’s position, and try to ensure that there are provisions to protect our provincial governments’ ability to govern. They can’t risk saying or doing anything that might be seen as a breach of confidentiality. Manitoba is dependent on federal money in the form of transfer payments and most importantly right now, flood funding. Our provincial government can’t say that Manitoba is being held hostage. We can.
Please contact your MLA, talk to them about your concerns and tell our provincial government that you will support them pulling out of CETA.
|Posted by winnipeg chapter on March 5, 2012 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
For Immediate Release
Premier Selinger Gets the Message:
Over 100,000 Manitobans Don’t Want CETA!
March 2, 2012 – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Local Council of Canadians activists have increased pressure on Selinger’s Provincial Government to keep Manitoba out of CETA, the controversial economic and trade agreement currently under secretive negotiation with the European Union.
A letter signed by 19 citizen and labour groups, representing over 100,000 Manitobans has been delivered to the Premier after the federal-provincial-territorial trade ministers’ press conference held in Ottawa earlier this week. Please see letter attached.
This week, the City of Ottawa joined a growing number of municipalities across the country by passing a resolution to be exempted from CETA. In total, more than 30 cities (including Montreal, Toronto and Saskatoon), towns, school boards and municipal associations in eight provinces have passed resolutions against CETA.
“Provincial and territorial governments have been far too private about their intentions and support for ongoing Canada-EU free trade talks. The agreement on the table becomes more controversial with each quiet negotiating round and with each new municipal government asking to be excluded from proposed rules on public spending. From the effect of CETA on drug costs to environmental policy to public services like water, much more needs to be done at the provincial level to seek public input before any deal is signed with the EU,” says Stuart Trew, trade campaigner, Council of Canadians.
For more information or to arrange an interview with Mary McCandless, Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter Chair, please contact Louise May at 799-4076 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take the Leap! Keep Manitoba out of CETA!
Dear Premier Selinger,
We, the Council of Canadians - Winnipeg Chapter, the Canadian Union of Public Employees Manitoba and the undersigned organizations representing over 100,000 Manitoba voters, implore you to act in the best interests of the people of Manitoba and pledge to keep Manitoba out of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) currently being negotiated between Canada and the European Union.
We believe that if CETA is signed it will have a significant negative impact on democracy and on public control over key services at all levels of government, from the federal to the municipal. If signed, CETA will:
- open critical public services, including water and wastewater services, to bids by European multinationals, and lead to increased privatization
- threaten local job creation and “buy-local” policies
- cause Canadian prescription drug costs to skyrocket by at least $2.8 billion annually, including $79.8 million in Manitoba alone, as shown in a study commissioned by the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association
- open governments to challenges by European corporations over environmental and other regulations made in the public interest
We are especially concerned about the impact of CETA on local governments. If CETA is signed, municipalities will “… lose one of the few and perhaps the most important tool they now have for stimulating innovation, fostering community economic development, creating local employment and achieving other public policy goals from food security to social equity.” (Steven Shrybman – from a legal opinion on CETA prepared for the Centre for Civic Governance at the Columbia Institute)
Unlike the corporations, the people of Manitoba – and all Canadians – have been left entirely out of the CETA negotiating process. The offers made to the European Union by the federal and provincial governments have not been made public, and there has been no meaningful discussion with the people of Manitoba as to the balance of benefits and costs associated with CETA.
We have had no opportunity to see or influence what is being put on the table; and no participation in the decision about whether entering CETA is in the best interest of our province, its municipalities, and the people of Manitoba.
We need to know that our tax dollars are spent for the benefit of the people of Manitoba, and not for the benefit of European – or any other – corporations.
We need to know that when our municipal governments make purchasing decisions that support local economies and sustainability policies, they will not be risking lengthy and expensive litigation from corporations that were not selected for the contract.
We need to know that our public services will remain public, and not be turned over to private profit-driven interests.
We need to know that laws and regulations put in place by our elected representatives to protect our environment are safe from corporate interference.
We are the people of Manitoba. We elected you to represent us and to ensure a fair and equitable society that puts people before profit.
For these reasons, we and the over 100,000 members we represent, urge you to keep Manitoba out of CETA.
Council of Canadians – Winnipeg Chapter
Boreal Forest Network
Peace Alliance Winnipeg
Manitoba Federation of Labour
Winnipeg Labour Council
Green Party of Manitoba
Winnipeg Water Watch
Provincial Council of Women Manitoba
Growing Local Productions
CUPE Local 998
CUPE Local 3909
CUPE Local 2348
IATSE Local 63
Social Planning Council Winnipeg
|Posted by winnipeg chapter on February 20, 2012 at 7:05 PM||comments (0)|
Giant valentine delivered to Manitoba Legislature in opposition to CETA deal.
On Valentine's Day, the Winnipeg Chapter visited the Manitoba Legislature with a big Keep Manitoba out of CETA message. Chapter activists created a giant heart from 300 of the 3000 postcards distributed, and delivered it to the Premier's office along with a red-ribbon wrapped bundle of another 100 postcards. MLAs received individual Valentine hearts hand-delivered to their legislature mail boxes.
The Valentine's visit followed a message and gift from CETA Clause to the Legislative Assembly last December.
Although the CETA negotiations are drawing to a close and there is a strong possibility that it will be signed by this summer, there are many areas where complete agreement has not been reached. Continued education of our politicians and pressure on provincial governments to stand against this trade deal - in particular, the procurement chapter - is one of the most likely methods to effect a change.
Winnipeg chapter continues its provincial government CETA education campaign next week on February 29th, with a letter from CUPE MB, MFL, WLC, CCPA, Peace Alliance Winnipeg, the Green Party of MB, the Boreal Forest Network, Winnipeg Water Watch, City Watch, the Social Planning Council and many other organizations asking Premier Selinger to take the leap, and keep Manitoba out of CETA!
|Posted by winnipeg chapter on February 14, 2012 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
For Immediate Release
Premier Selinger and MLA’s get Valentines Day card from Council of Canadians re: CETA!
February 13, 2012 – Winnipeg, Manitoba
At 11am this Valentine’s Day, local Council of Canadians activists will present an oversized card to Premier Selinger asking his government to keep Manitoba out of CETA, the controversial economic and trade agreement currently under secretive negotiation with the European Union.
The card represents a 3000-person campaign of signed postcards indicating popular support to stop Manitoba from signing on to CETA – a Harper agenda. Each MLA will receive a Valentine’s Day card with the following text:
“It's Valentine's Day and love is in the air! And here in Manitoba there's a lot to love - so far.
We love and protect our natural resources, public drinking water and wastewater services, local food and local food programs, public libraries (that are still hanging on to the public part), a wide variety of local businesses doing business locally, public services and crown corporations (that also haven't been privatized and sold off), public transit and affordable prescription drugs.
We want to keep it that way - don't you?
Please Keep Manitoba out of CETA!”
For more information or to arrange an interview with Mary McCandless, Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter Chair, please contact Louise May at 799-4076 or email@example.com. Mary McCandless and other CoC members will be available for interviews on the steps of the Manitoba Legislative Building February 14th from 11am to noon.
|Posted by winnipeg chapter on February 11, 2012 at 10:50 PM||comments (0)|
Please call the Premier and your MLA and tell them to keep Manitoba out of C.E.T.A.
You can choose to read the main points below, to comment yourself on those points, to read one of the comments that correlate to the points or to read them all. The important thing is to call MLAs. Make sure their voice mail is FULL Monday morning!
You may refer them to canadianswinnipeg.org or canadians.org/CETA for more information.
Hi my name is _______. I am calling to tell you that C.E.T.A. (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada) would be a bad deal for Manitobans. It's an unfair trade deal, made behind closed doors, that will be devastating to communities throughout Manitoba and jeopardize our standard of living for generations to come.
If C.E.T.A. is signed it will:
- threaten our democracy by putting corporate rights first
- open public services to bids by huge multinationals and lead to privatization - Canada’s drinking water and wastewater services are particularly at risk
- threaten local job creation and “buy-local” policies
- cause Canadian prescription drug costs to skyrocket by at least $2.8 billion each year, 79.8 million in MB alone
- allow big corporations to challenge environmental regulations
Quick comments that correlate to the points above.
- A corporation's right to do business and make profit will come before our rights as people. For instance, accessible, affordable, clean drinking water for people will be secondary to the corporation's right to own and sell that water.
- Because water services will be open to bidding by corporations, there will be enormous pressure to turn water into a commodity instead of a human right, and to contract with companies like Veolia to sell our water to us.
- A venture like Diversity Foods at University of Winnipeg would not be possible under CETA. Diversity provides top quality meals from locally sourced fresh food, supporting local farmers; they have a successful program of hiring and training new Canadians and aboriginals. But if the contract for university food services comes up once CETA is signed, the university would have to open it to bidding from all EU and Canadian corporations and choose the lowest bidder - even if that meant pre-packaged microwave meals shipped across the ocean.
- Pharmaceutical companies are supposed to spend at least 10% of yearly revenue on research, but they still only spend 6%. Extending their patents isn't going to pay for research and development costs – it’s paying for advertising, lobbying of government and bloated executive salaries.
- If a corporation thinks that they were not able to bid on a contract because of provincial or even municipal government policies for requirements (such as green energy) that the corporation couldn't meet, the corporation can take the government through a dispute settlement process. They'll get their money, and elected government will lose its ability to make policies stick.
Honourable Greg Selinger • Premier
Phone: 945-3714 Fax: 949-1484
Constituency: 237-9247 firstname.lastname@example.org
Honourable Steve Ashton • Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation
Phone: 945-3723 Fax: 945-7610 email@example.com
Honourable Dave Chomia • Minister of Innovation, Energy and Mines
Phone: 945-5356 Fax: 948-2692 firstname.lastname@example.org
Honourable Gord Mackintosh • Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship
Phone: 945-3370 Fax: 948-3586 Constituency:582-1550 email@example.com
Honourable Eric Robinson • Deputy Premier
• Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs
Phone: 945-3719 Fax: 945-8374 firstname.lastname@example.org
Honourable Ron Lemieux • Minister of Local Government
Phone: 945-3788 Fax: 945-1383 email@example.com
Honourable Stan Struthers • Minister of Finance
Phone: 945-3952 Fax: 945-6057 firstname.lastname@example.org
Honourable Nancy Allan • Minister of Education
Phone: 945-3720 Fax: 945-1291 email@example.com
Honourable Jim Rondeau • Minister of Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs
Phone: 945-1373 Fax: 948-2703 firstname.lastname@example.org
Honourable Peter Bjornson • Minister of Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade
Phone: 945-0067 Fax: 945-4882 email@example.com
Honourable Christine Melnick • Minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism
Phone: 945-1133 Fax: 948-2684 firstname.lastname@example.org
Honourable Theresa Oswald • Minister of Health
Phone: 945-3731 Fax: 945-0441 email@example.com
Honourable Kerri Irvin-Ross • Minister of Housing and Community Development
Phone: 945-6190 Fax: 945-1491 firstname.lastname@example.org
Honourable Andrew Swan • Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Phone:945-3728 Fax: 945-2517 email@example.com
Honourable Jennifer Howard • Minister of Family Services and Labour
• Government House Leader
Phone: 945-4173 Fax: 945-5149 firstname.lastname@example.org
Honourable Flor Marcelino • Minister of Culture, Heritage and Tourism
Phone: 945-3729 Fax: 945-5223 email@example.com
Honourable Erin Selby • Minister of Advanced Education and Literacy
Phone: 945-0825 Fax: 948-2216 firstname.lastname@example.org
Honourable Kevin Chief • Minister of Children and Youth Opportunities
Phone: 945-1133 Fax: 948-2519 email@example.com
Honourable Ron Kostyshyn • Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives
Phone: 945-3722 Fax: 945-347
|Posted by winnipeg chapter on December 8, 2011 at 12:30 AM||comments (0)|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Manitoba MLAs receive LUMP OF COAL from Council of Canadians, and launch of "CETA Clause" Video.
Winnipeg, Manitoba - December 7th, 2011
At 8:30AM Council of Canadians – Winnipeg Chapter Chairperson Mary McCandless will deliver a Christmas letter and gift of coal to all Members of the Legislative Assembly to draw attention to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Europe and Canada (CETA). "CETA Clause" has made an appearance at the Provincial Legislature and Council of Canadians members were able to record an interview, launched concurrently as a CETA Clause video on YouTube.
The CETA negotiations are nearing completion as European Union and Canadian governments finalize this secretive, wide-ranging deal; and CETA will not be good for Manitobans.
CETA is the first international trade agreement to include provincial and municipal procurement, yet there is a lack of information available, and Canadians have been strategically shut out of the discussion about how it will affect us.
CETA will require government spending to be open to bids from European corporations, and will prohibit considerations of local economic development, local jobs, sustainability, indigenous rights, environmental considerations or anything other than lowest bid in choosing the winner.-30-
Dear Premier and MLAs,
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! For a while, we were worried. Well, to be honest, we're still worried. This Christmas is snowy, beautiful and full of possibility - but next Christmas isn't looking so good.
2012 is the year that CETA - the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the European Union and Canada - will be ratified. This is the widest ranging trade agreement that Canada has ever considered, and the first to include provincial and municipal procurement, yet media have not been reporting on it, and Canadians have been given very little opportunity to find out what it is and what it's going to do to us.
Fortunately, there are some things we have found out about CETA:
CETA will be good for corporations and bad for every day people.
- European corporations want to sell Canadians the services we now receive publicly, services such as health care, education, water and mail delivery.
- CETA will give these private companies the right to bid on all government tenders over $200,000 for goods and services including schools, hospitals, airports, public transit, ports, and hydro projects to name just a few.
- Governments must by law choose the lowest bidder, without any considerations of local economic development, environmental policies, indigenous rights, or anything outside of direct dollar amount.
- Any rules or practices that favour local economic development, support local food production or promote local or Canadian goods and services will be challenged as unfair barriers to trade.
- As well, these corporations will have the right to challenge any local laws that promote fair trade or reflect environmental concerns of the community, such as bottled water bans
- The section on intellectual property rights will allow big pharmaceutical corporations to increase their patents by an additional 5 years, thus adding $2.8 billion/year to the cost of pharmacare in Canada – $79.8 million of that in Manitoba alone.
We want next Christmas to be a happy one, a time for us to celebrate our values of freedom and democracy. We want to know that when we send our Holiday letter next year, it will be to Members of a Legislative Assembly that still has the right to make decisions without the fear of corporate interference.
We don't want to wake up Christmas morning to find that a CETA Clause put coal in our stockings!
The Council of Canadians – Winnipeg Chapter
|Posted by winnipeg chapter on November 24, 2011 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
The Uniter Opposition against Canada-Europe trade deal grows
by Anne Thomas (Beat Reporter) - November 10th 2011
CETA opponents have been calling for a public debate, and the Council of Canadians organized a letter-writing campaign.
“If CETA is signed as it stands, it will prevent local governments from spending local tax dollars to build local economic health,” said Mary McCandless of the Winnipeg chapter of the Council of Canadians.
The group expects CETA to drive up prescription drug costs, threaten farm support programs and allow foreign corporations to ignore Canadian environmental regulations.
Unlike past free trade deals, under CETA, local governments would not be allowed to favour local or environmentally responsible suppliers or those suppliers creating local jobs. Small purchases would be exempt, but the group fears restrictions would apply to about 80 per cent of the over $100 billion spent annually on provincial and municipal purchases.
“We need to use that money to keep our communities strong and vibrant,” McCandless said.
|Posted by winnipeg chapter on October 24, 2011 at 5:55 PM||comments (1)|
People are occupying Memorial Park in front of the Manitoba Legislature as a presence of peace and possibility for our future, in the place where so many of the decisions that shape our future are made. A belief in love, hope, and optimism resonates through the crowd. "We are sometimes chilled to the bone, but not to the heart!" expressed one rosy cheeked occupier on the second day.
Memorial Park - Winnipeg October 15, 2011
Here are people who have devoted their lives to a cause, and people who have never been inspired to action until now. Some noticed the tents, came to ask questions, and stayed to join the movement. Others remember the protests of the sixties and seventies and came to offer a lifetime of experience to a new generation.
Occupy Winnipeg brings together interests and concerns from all directions. Discussions around the Sacred Fire address (but are not limited to) climate change, electoral reform, the ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered women, labour, immigration, Boreal Forest, Indigenous Rights, Canadian Wheat Board, trade justice, public services - more ideas arise every day, and pathways to change take shape.
The Council of Canadians brings a specific and very timely issue to the conversation: trade justice and the ongoing parade of “free” trade agreements that are never about freedom or better trade opportunities for the "99%". The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union and Canada is the latest and the worst of these yet, with major negotiations concluding last week in Ottawa.
Occupy Winnipeg DAY 1 Trevor Semotok - Winnipeg Chapter
Many of the Occupy Movement's ideals are directly at odds with CETA's goals of creating trade deals that favour profit-blinded corporate interests and repress local people's decision-making rights.
Whatever it is that draws each of us to Occupy Winnipeg, all occupiers agree that we can no longer allow our world to be ruled by greed, and overcome by anger, fear and despair. We are willing to transcend differences and discover how to fit our unique puzzle pieces together into one coherent image of hope.
Everyone is invited to come by for a visit, and experience it for yourself!
Contributor: Mary McCandless - Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter Member
|Posted by winnipeg chapter on September 12, 2011 at 10:25 PM||comments (1)|
The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU) is currently being negotiated behind closed doors by the Harper government, provincial representatives, and the EU. The European Union is demanding the inclusion of an open procurement policy across all levels of government jurisdiction. This would result in both provinces and municipalities being effectively banned from applying any preferences in public contracting or procurement. Local and provincial governments could not purchase local goods, hire local companies, or sign contracts that had any considerations other than price. Infrastructure projects would no longer be an investment in local job creation as any corporation could sue a government that hired a local company that did not offer the lowest price.
An enforced open procurement policy would severely limit the ability of governments to respond to economic downturns with stimulus spending.
In Manitoba valued public assets like Manitoba Hydro, the Winnipeg International Airport, and Winnipeg Transit have all been identified as public assets that EU corporations could outbid and takeover. Given Winnipeg’s recent deal with the notorious French Water Company, Veolia, for a 30 year contract for our waste water treatment centres and with the CETA in effect there would be tremendous pressure placed on all Manitoba municipalities to privatize their water and waste services. The CETA would force governments to make decisions where profitability would have legal precedence over local economic concerns, the needs of the community, and the human right to the public availability of water.
As it stands the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union would restrict local and provincial government and limit our ability to make democratic choices about our economy. We would lose control over our resources, our jobs, our economy, and our local government.
Stephen Harper wants the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement signed by 2012, but he needs the cooperation of the provinces. During this election talk to your MLA and local candidates and tell them about your concerns over the CETA. Make sure that the next government of Manitoba will defend our local economy and our democracy by saying NO to the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement.
Contributor: Trevor Semotok - Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter Member
For more info please click here.