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December 14, 2010

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

Canada is in the midst of negotiating a free trade deal with the European Union (EU) that could forever change our public system. We urge all CUPE members to resist this trade deal because there is no question that this deal will open the door to increasing privatization and contracting-out in Canada.

If the proposed Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is signed, it will expose our communities to legal challenges on local, environmental and ethical purchasing strategies and will be a serious threat to local democracy and our public services in Canada. The EU is demanding full access tosub-nationalpurchasing and contracting in Canada. That means giving multinational corporations access to our municipalities, school boards and publicly-funded academic institutions, health and social service entities and our municipal water systems.

CUPE is engaged with a network of workers and social justice activists who oppose CETA. We have been resisting the privatization of our public services for decades and CETA represents one of the greatest threats our public system has ever faced. This trade deal prioritizes the privatization, liberalization and deregulation of our public system over our basic right to access vital services and resources.

There are a growing number of municipal councils who are taking action now. The Union of British Colombia Municipalities (UBCM) recently passed a resolution brought forward by the District of Logan Lake and City of Burnaby. We encourage all CUPE locals to contact their city and town councils and request their immediate action to keep municipalities out of CETA. We specifically ask that you:

  1. Find a local councilor(s) or mayor who you think might champion the call to keep cities out of CETA and other international trade deals.
  2. Send them the attached draft resolution, calling on them to put forward a motion in opposition to CETA at the next council meeting.
  3. Stay informed and update your municipal councilors and CUPE members about how CETA will affect municipalities. Trade Lawyer Steve Shrybman’s report regarding the Municipal Procurement Implications of CETA can be accessed at cupe.ca/ceta-toolkit along with other helpful information. We’ll be posting more tools here so check back often.

The Canada-European Union free trade talks are advancing quickly and provincial-territorial offers on services, procurement and investment could be sent to EU negotiators as early as the end of December. The time to act is now!

In solidarity,

National President