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What are the positions of provincial party leaders on CETA?

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took advantage of the visit to Ottawa by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to reiterate, in her presence, his determination to finalize a free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union before the end of this year.

Since an election campaign is underway, it is appropriate for the provincial party leaders to share their positions concerning this agreement, which has been subject to criticism in both Canada and Europe,” stated Denis Bolduc, secretary-general of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Quebec.

CUPE is among thousands of actors in civil society to have taken a stance against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union.

Let’s not be fooled; our government contracts are on the table in these talks,” said Bolduc. “Government contracts mean every contract between Crown corporations and government, including at the municipal and provincial levels.” CUPE is calling for the exclusion of government contracts from any potential agreement.

Our political and economic sovereignty is on the line here,” added Bolduc. “These negotiations are taking place behind closed doors, and a lot of people are realizing this in Montreal and Toronto.”

Montreal city council adopted a resolution on the subject, in January 2012, stating that CETA is not to be interpreted as limiting the power of citizens to decide, through their elected officials, what types of services can be provided and controlled by their local government authorities.

Mr. Bolduc also expressed concerns with respect to the inclusion of liberalization measures in the agreement that “will tie the hands of government and hold back local economic development.”