We should question trade deal

In October 2013 Prime Minister Harper signed a deal in principle with the European Union.


In October 2013 Prime Minister Harper signed a deal in principle with the European Union.

This Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) must yet be ratified by the Canadian Parliament, by the European Union Parliament and by the 28 member states of the EU.

B.C. needs to sell its resources for a prosperous economy. The Cariboo would like to see continued markets for its timber products and for its beef.

While the annual quota for Canadian beef might rise to 65,000 tonnes (up from 15,000) if the agreement is fully implemented, the EU expects an annual gain of $16.3 billion in GDPs out of this deal. Someone is going to pay.

The CETA is a new kind of trade agreement. It seeks to remove any regulations shielding domestic markets from international competition. This is signalled by the EU’s projection of $700 million in annual tariff savings and what Canada would lose in duties.

The CETA would provide European companies with opportunities to bid on government procurement opportunities and prevent provincial and municipal governments or Crown corporations from including social, economic or environmental requirements on these purchasing contracts.

If the CETA is ratified and if Site C is approved it is entirely possible that the project could be done by a Spanish or a Polish corporation. Is that a good possibility for the B.C. economy?

Canadians, particularly seniors, rely heavily on generic pharmaceuticals.

European negotiators, representing large drug companies, want automatic patent term renewal if the patent renewal process goes on — in their view — for too long. They want five more years added to the end of patents and the right to appeal decisions that would allow competing generic drugs to enter the market. Several provinces have protested, but the negotiations are being conducted by the federal government.

Informed politicians have become concerned to the extent that more than 40 jurisdictions across Canada have requested exemption from the terms of the CETA. In the Cariboo there has been silence from federal, provincial and municipal politicians.

It is the responsibility of every taxpayer and citizen to ask of every one of these politicians “What do you know about the CETA? And what are you doing to protect the interests of your voters from potentially unfair international competition?”

Is the CETA good for us?

John Dressler

Williams Lake


Williams Lake Tribune