CUPE and the Council of Canadians held their final CETA townhall meetings in London and Charlottetown as more municipalities pass anti-CETA resolutions and activism grows across the country.
More than 400 people attended the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in London on December 1. Local musicians and a gigantic blue CETApus entertained the huge audience that included members of Occupy London.
Despite the high winds, a good-sized crowd came out to the CETA townhall meeting in Charlottetown on December 8. CUPE PEI President Lori MacKay moderated the event. CUPE National President Paul Moist and Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow were joined on the panel by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives trade analyst Scott Sinclair.
“No-one on this platform questions that international trade is vital for the Canadian and Prince Edward Island economies,” said Sinclair. “But there are legitimate questions that need to be asked about who benefits from trade and about the role of public policies, ensuring that those benefits are shared as widely as possible.”
Sinclair said that PEI stands to benefit from the recent contracts for new naval and icebreaker vessels won by Halifax Shipyards and that hopefully the idle Georgetown Shipyards will be back up and running soon. “Those shipbuilding contracts were restricted to Canadian suppliers on the basis of local benefits,” Sinclair said. He noted that without those considerations, those ships could be built in North Korea or Norway. CETA puts local procurement provisions like these at risk.
Earlier in the day Moist and elected leaders from CUPE met with Mayor Clifford Lee. Moist told Lee that CUPE is actively lobbying the government to support municipal infrastructure. He also shared CUPE’s concerns about the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, currently being negotiated between Canada and the European Union.
In Quebec, activism by SCFP 957 members who are hydro workers, resulted in an on-line petition calling for public consultations on CETA to be posted on the website of the National Assembly.
In Ontario, Hamilton has joined the growing list of communities that have passed resolutions asking that local governments be exempted from CETA. The Council of Canadians has mapped them out. If your city or town is not on this list, why not put it there? Go to http://www.canadians.org/ceta-resolution for tips on how to pass a local CETA resolution in your community.