Canada-EU free trade agreement called corporate Trojan horse
With NDP, Liberals and civil society groups criticizing Canada's secretive CETA agreement, VO launches a series on its impact on Canadians' water, democracy, jobs and health. Part I takes a broad look at CETA - and the secrecy surrounding it.
What is not in dispute is that the deal's dispute process will enable European companies to take not only Canada – but also municipalities and provinces – to court if policies impinge on their profits in a “discriminatory” way. This, say critics, will restrict communities from enacting buy-local clauses for environmental reasons, and potentially put public water services at risk of privatization. Other opponents argue that CETA will endanger access to affordable, generic medication by imposing pro-business European standards on Canada – claims that DFAIT disputes.
Conservatives, meanwhile, are celebrating the agreement's transparency, and point to meetings with industry representatives, unions, municipalities, provinces, and civil society updating them on the status of talks and requesting input.
“These have been the most transparent and collaborative trade negotiations Canada has ever conducted, with extensive consultations with all Canadians,” Rudy Rusny, press secretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), told the Vancouver Observer. “Negotiations are ongoing.
“Our government will only sign a trade agreement with the (European Union) if it is in Canada's best interests. With one in five Canadian jobs dependent on trade, a trade agreement with the European Union has the potential to benefit Canada enormously.”