Canada is facing a number of challenges at the federal, provincial, and local levels.
Today, we are facing one particular issue that touches on all these levels of government.
The terms of CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) between Canada and the European Union are currently being (secretly) negotiated.
This trade agreement has been kept from the public for too long. Although organizations such as CUPE, Trade Justice Network, APTN, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives among others, have addressed the matter, it has consistently failed to make it into the mainstream media which is the main source of news and information for most of us.
This free trade agreement could embed within it devastating implications in the social, political, environmental, as well as economic spheres. As the European Union members and corporations are facing a growing financial crisis, I cannot but conclude that these transnational corporations are becoming more desperate to expand their market here, in Canada.
CETA and the resulting policies will affect the lives of each and every Canadian. For instance, the Peace Alliance Winnipeg News identifies some of the major threats:
“It’s the biggest free trade deal Canada has ever negotiated. But the public is being left in the dark about Canada-EU trade talks by the federal and provincial governments. This trade deal is not just about trade. It’s a privatization and deregulation designed to undermine local communities and give new powers to multinational corporations.”
If CETA is signed it will:
• Threaten our democracy by putting corporate rights first;
• Encourage privatization of Canadians’ drinking water and wastewater services;
• Threaten local job creation and buy-local policies;
• Cause prescription drug costs to skyrocket by at least $2.8 billion per year;
• Allow big corporations to ignore or challenge environmental regulations;
• Undermine Canadian farmers and endanger local food security.
These only scratch the surface of the matter.
My utmost concern is the secrecy under which this trade agreement is being negotiated. I find it alarming that my neighbours and members of the community of Comox Valley are not aware that this trade agreement even exists.
I would like our residents in the Comox Valley to get involved in these negotiations and find out how CETA would affect our community.
Will our water be privatized? Would our local government services be privatized? And what other effects would we face in our area should the terms of CETA be implemented?
I have a number of resources and links to websites that are very informative. I would invite those community members to contact me for further details or check www.tradejustice.ca/en/section/1
It is my hope that we can empower our community by creating more awareness on federal government policies such as CETA, which too often take place in secrecy resulting in the lack of public discussion and input.