The Council of Canadians - Winnipeg Chapter

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Citizen and Labour Groups Sign-on to Stop CETA

Posted by Winnipeg Chapter on March 5, 2012 at 12:00 AM

PRESS RELEASE:

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 louisewillowmay@gmail.com. 


-30-

LETTER:

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.

Thank you,

Council of Canadians – Winnipeg Chapter
CUPE-MB
CCPA
Boreal Forest Network
Peace Alliance Winnipeg
Project Peacemakers
Manitoba Federation of Labour
Winnipeg Labour Council
Green Party of Manitoba
Winnipeg Water Watch
Provincial Council of Women Manitoba
Growing Local Productions
UNPAC
CUPE Local 998
CUPE Local 3909
CUPE Local 2348
IATSE Local 63
Social Planning Council Winnipeg
CityWatch Winnipeg


Categories: C.E.T.A.

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