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ST. JOHN’S, NLCUPE NL president Wayne Lucas met today with provincial Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development Shawn Skinner to discuss the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union.

The proposed Canada/E.U. trade deal has big potential implications for this province. I am pleased that today’s meeting with Minister Skinner was so constructive” said Lucas.

We let the Minister know CUPE’s concerns in a range of areas. For example, we are very concerned about European demands for significant limits on the use of local and provincial purchasing to support local jobs and businesses in our communities. That European demand could be very harmful for job creation and public services,” Lucas said.

Other issues covered at the meeting included investor rights, pharmaceutical patents and fisheries.
CETA looks set to give European companies the same rights U.S. and Mexican companies now enjoy under NAFTA, including the right to sue governments for their public policies. That ability under NAFTA led to the Abitibi-Bowater lawsuit that caused much difficulty for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Why would we want to open the door to even more lawsuits? These so-called ‘investor rights’ have very little to do with trade and everything to do with limiting the ability of democratically elected governments to control resources and set public policies,” Lucas said.

Lucas said he was encouraged by the full and frank discussion held with Minister Skinner about the range of CETA issues that are of concern to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.