|Posted by Winnipeg Chapter on November 25, 2013 at 3:30 PM|
Calling for Public Review of CETA
A group of students from the "Nonviolent Social Change" class at the University of Winnipeg organized a Stop CETA walk today - led by a Trojan Horse. The horse is a 10 foot tall symbol of the secrecy maintained by the federal government as they negotiate CETA - the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada - on behalf of the citizens of Canada.
"The Trojan Horse represents what this agreement means for Canada - it may look good from the outside, but inside deregulation and privatization of the Canadian economy and health care, strengthening of corporate power, and decreasing efforts at addressing the climate crisis lurk," says student organizer Michael Barkman.
CETA is the largest of Canada's Free Trade Agreements, and the first to include both provincial and municipal procurement. This means that under the investor-to-state dispute settlement process (ISDS) European and Canadian corporations will now be able to sue all levels of government for perceived loss of potential profit when governments create policy designed to protect resources, jobs, climate and citizens' rights.
Provinces have an opportunity now to insist on a full public review and consultation before approving the deal; but are reluctant to do so because of concerns over political backlash from Ottawa. Following the rally, the Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter delivered this letter to Premier Greg Selinger and to the Minister of Jobs and Economy Theresa Oswald.
Dear Premier Selinger,
A Trojan Horse visited the Legislature today, an ominous symbol of the looming CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) deal between Canada and Europe.
The Harper administration is hard-selling this trade deal to Canadians, and pushing the provinces to signal their approval without asking too many questions about what's inside the deal. Because of the Harper administration's extreme secrecy, the people of Canada - those most affected by CETA - still know little to nothing about it.
Several times throughout the negotiations, leaked information has indicated that CETA will threaten prescription drug costs, farmers' rights, indigenous rights, local job creation, environmental protections, and much more. Because CETA includes an investor state dispute settlement process allowing corporations to sue governments for policies that interfere with corporate profit making, our governments' ability to safeguard against these threats is severely curtailed.
This is the time for the Manitoba Government to provide opportunities for Manitobans to learn more about the deal from many sources; a time to ensure that Manitobans are able to comment on the deal; a time to listen to Manitobans.
This is the time for the Manitoba Government to insist on a broad and meaningful public review and consultation on CETA.
Mary Robinson, Chair
Council of Canadians – Winnipeg Chapter
Contributor: Mary Robinson - Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter Chair
Images provided by Ken Harasym