Trade deal would be a disaster
Re: “Dooley questions council’s logic” (Page 1, February 13, 2013).
I am writing to applaud Nelson city councillors in their resolve to be exempted from the secretive Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) being negotiated by the federal government. The leaked text of this deal indicates there is a lot of devil in the details. They are absolutely right to take a strong stand behind the seven principles on trade ascribed to by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
The CETA deal goes far beyond trade and embodies an ideological commitment to deregulate and privatize for corporate advantage, every last stick, stone and public service left standing. An annual $120 billion of provincial and municipal government procurement would be subject to EU companies.
For the first time in Canadian history the Conservatives are laying the foundation for policies that will prohibit these entities from passing measures to encourage development in the local interest or risk being sued by EU corporations. Furthermore, any disputes would be settled outside of our domestic court system in highly questionable private tribunals.
Trade experts have warned that because of our obligations under other treaties, we may have to accord US pharmaceutical companies the same preferences we give EU companies — without the US giving us anything in return. The Conservatives have finally admitted that studies they have conducted on estimated annual cost increases of pharmaceuticals for Canadians would run in the billions if we give in to EU demands on Canadian intellectual property laws.
This government has taken us from $26 billion federal surplus to a $50 billion deficit since coming into power. Our trade deficit has exploded six times to over $90 billion under the Conservative watch. Even more worrying is that while exports of raw materials are up by $30 billion, our value added exports are down $35 billion. It is crucial that all levels of government do their homework before giving their stamp of approval to these lopsided corporate rights agreements that undermine our democratic institutions and are so clearly against our national interest.
Southern Interior NDP MP