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A new round of negotiations towards a Canada-EU investment and trade deal begins today in Brussels under a cloud of controversy and concern.
Last week, CUPE released a legal opinion warning that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will redraw the constitutional landscape, giving corporations new powers and rights at the expense of provincial power over natural resources and public services.
CUPE sent the opinion to provincial and territorial premiers, urging the leaders to withdraw their support for CETA pending a full public debate of the entire deal and its implications.
There’s also outrage in Canada and Europe that CETA contains controversial provisions from the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). ACTA has united a broad spectrum of opponents against the deal’s severe restrictions on Internet rights.
News of ACTA’s back-door inclusion in CETA sparked an online torrent on social media, as well as anger among EU legislators. Members of the European Parliament are up in arms at the revelation, having recently voted to reject ACTA. ACTA’s rules include heavy-handed criminal enforcement provisions that threaten privacy and free speech.
With intellectual property a key sticking point in CETA negotiations, the ACTA controversy could become a major roadblock to a final deal.
Meanwhile, Canadian municipalities and other public bodies continue to speak up against CETA. Recently, municipal councils in Red Deer, Alberta, Port Moody, British Columbia and Amherstburg, Ontario as well as the Northwest Territories Association of Communities, Cranbrook School District and Greater Victoria School District have all passed anti-CETA resolutions.