Last week the Ottawa Citizen reported that “the federal government appears only weeks away from completing negotiations on a Canada-European Union free-trade agreement that would be the country’s largest and most important international trade pact in a generation.” Read this response piece by the Council of Canadian’s Maude Barlow and me.
Re: “Canada closing in on free-trade with EU” (January 18, 2013)
Speculation over what the Harper Conservative government is willing to give up in its trade deal with the European Union should be of grave concern for all Canadians.
EU demands to change our patent regime – potentially driving up the costs Canadians pay for prescription drugs by billions – should be a deal breaker in negotiations for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. The security of our public health care system is clearly too high a cost.
Ignoring these concerns, and those of the over 40 municipalities – including Toronto, Victoria, and Hamilton – asking for an exemption from CETA so they can maintain autonomous control of their infrastructure, procurement policies, and public services, is irresponsible to say the least.
The implications for this trade deal are too important and wide reaching to have it completed in secret, rushed to meet the Prime Minister’s arbitrary deadlines. CETA should be openly and publically debated. All Canadians deserve to know if any trade deal intends to further investor rights and the interests of corporations, or will it in fact serve the public good.
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Council of Canadians