Austerity budget, free trade, crime bill: Conservatives eye sweeping changes with 2012 legislation

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Others have warned that CETA will force Canada to loosen its drug patent laws to align them with more pro-business European standards which give pharmaceutical companies longer patents, and delay production of cheap generics.

“The immediate issue around CETA is we have to agree to align our pharmaceutical patents to the European ones – which are much more in favour of the transnational drug companies – and their patent regime,” the Council of Canadians' Maude Barlow told the Vancouver Observer in an ealier interview. “That would increase our drug prices by about $3 billion a year.
 
“CETA applies to not just the federal government but provincial and municipal governments. That immediately offsets any kind of cost-cutting you might want to do for health care.”

Most dramatically, unlike the above bills on Parliament's agenda, CETA will require no public debate, nor any discussion in the House of Commons. It will simply be presented to legislators, at some point, for ratification. Whether Canadians learn the truth about what is being negotiated is, as yet, unknown.

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