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After all, trade deals have always been negotiated in private by skilled negotiators and diplomats. They are appointed by elected leaders, so that makes it a democratic process. Who elected the protestors?

This is an important point. The trouble with it is that citizens have a right to expect that they are being represented by the government in power throughout its mandate. Our government is responsible to Parliament, but not even Parliament sees the text of international agreements before they are concluded. Recently, the Canadian government announced it had convinced trade ministers across the Americas to release the draft Free Trade Area of the Americas. Conveniently, the decision was not taken in time for a full discussion at the Peoples Summit. But, even this action would not have been taken if oppositional social movements had not been mobilized to make this demand of our trade ministers.

Finally, on the question of who elected the protestors, many protestors are in fact elected representatives of their own organisations in the labour, womens, peace, environmental, aboriginal and student movements. Extra-parliamentary political expression is quite legitimate in a democratic society.

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