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Ottawa, ON – Canadian public support for free trade with the European Union is high, but a new poll says many oppose opening up government purchasing to European competition and other key provisions of a deal currently being negotiated with the EU.

Seventy-one per cent of Canadians support a free trade agreement with the EU, according to a poll conducted by Environics Research Group for the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The poll, however, also shows many oppose key provisions of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) currently being negotiated by Canada and the EU.

Canadians recognize the importance of international trade, but they want trade agreements to be responsible and in the best interests of their communities,” says Paul Moist, national president of CUPE.

Sixty per cent of Canadians oppose opening up government purchasing to competition to European companies. The EU wants CETA to include provisions which would ban Canadian governments at all levels, including municipal, from having procurement policies favour local, regional or Canadian sources.

Canadians also oppose CETA provisions that would hike the cost of prescription drugs. A recent study says the extension of patent protections being proposed in CETA could add 2.8 billion dollars a year to prescription drug costs. A significant majority of Canadians, 67 per cent, say they would oppose a trade deal with the EU that increases prices on brand-name pharmaceutical drugs.

The more Canadians learn about CETA, the more they oppose key issues being discussed at the negotiations table,” says Moist. “There clearly needs to be more scrutiny on what the Canadian federal government is willing to concede on this deal.”

Many also oppose opening up water and waste treatment services to companies in Europe. Of people asked with an opinion, only 40 per cent support opening these services up to European competition while 52 per cent oppose.

The poll was conducted May 12-16, 2011. One-thousand people were surveyed, with a margin of error +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The concerns of Canadians expressed in this poll on CETA are the focus of a series of public forums being held by CUPE and the Council of Canadians. Next week, Paul Moist and Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow will be in Winnipeg, Halifax and St. John’s to discuss what CETA could mean for Canadian communities.

More information on the CUPE / Council of Canadians CETA tour can be found online at cupe.ca.

Click here for detailed results and survey questions.

For more information:

Greg Taylor, CUPE Media Relations

(613) 818-0067 gtaylor@cupe.ca