The Canadian labour movement is uniting to fight against irresponsible international trade agreements that are threatening our public services and Canadian jobs.
Canada and the European Union are currently negotiating a new Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) which they hope to sign by the end of this year.
Under CETA, large multinational corporations could take over delivery of vital public services – like water and waste disposal – whether communities and local governments like it or not.
On the first day of the Canadian Labour Congress 2011 Convention in Vancouver, BC, over 2,600 delegates passed a resolution calling for the CLC to work towards greater accountability and transparency in CETA negotiations, and to oppose any trade deal which would threaten Canada’s public services.
“CETA poses a threat to every Canadian worker, in every sector of our economy – public and private,” says CUPE National President Paul Moist. “The virtually unrestrained deregulation and privatization possible under CETA not only threatens our valued public services, it puts manufacturing, natural resources, telecommunications, and virtually every other sector of the Canadian economy at great risk.”
There were concurrent resolutions from CUPE, NUPGE, and several regional and provincial labour councils concerning CETA and similar international trade agreements. The CLC Economic and Social Policy Committee, which is co-chaired by Moist, brought forward the following composite resolution.
The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) will demand that the negotiations for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) be fully transparent with opportunity for input from the public;
The CLC will support the call for a full evaluation of the social, environmental, and labour aspects of the proposed agreement;
The CLC will ensure that the proposed agreement will not interfere with the right of governments to regulate in the public interest, protect public services, or create new public programs;
The CLC will oppose the inclusion of investor-State provisions and demand that CETA does not force federal, provincial, or municipal governments to open public procurement to foreign companies;
The CLC will make it a high priority to campaign against a flawed CETA, including by providing support to the Trade Justice Network and local coalitions working to oppose CETA;
The CLC will work with allies in Europe to educate and build opposition in Europe;
The CLC will lobby the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to take a strong public position against CETA’s threats to municipal powers;
The CLC will assist Federations of Labour and Labour Councils to persuade provincial governments to exempt municipalities from CETA, working to make CETA a high priority issue in upcoming federal and provincial election campaigns;
Because CETA will reduce the ability of governments, especially local and provincial governments, to act on behalf of citizens, and give new powers to international corporations.