First, Congratulations on winning Kitchener-Waterloo!
I’m writing out of urgent concern about the Comprehensive trade agreement with Europe that Harper is finalizing right now, and how it will affect our localities and our autonomy.
I was glad to hear that Waterloo, Kitchener, and the Region have all asked to be exempted. But will that be enough to protect us from lawsuits and other pressures from huge corporations?
Here are a couple of videos:
The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement Primer (CAW):
CUPE Video exposes CETA dangers:
CETA is the New ACTA (internet restrictions):
Today [Oct 16], twelve members of the Conservative federal government will be negotiating the final details of the CETA, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement.
This deal is NAFTA ON STEROIDS and far larger than any Canada has ever constructed. Lawyer Steve Shrybman calls the CETA “a rewriting of the economic constitution”.
The recent slash and burn budget was preparation for CETA protocol, and the budget to come out this week will cut much more, to prepare for the demands in the CETA.
The urgency of the CETA is that, as international trade law, it is a permanent plan. It is not as difficult to change national policy as international, legally-binding policy between 13 countries!
CETA’s primary content is your city’s water, energy, buses, subways, hospitals and schools, to be opened permanently for bidding by transnational corporations. It also includes the sale of some crown corporations like Canada Post. This means that your town’s hydro, buses, drinking water, mail and more, could very well be run by foreign-owned corporations from the EU, the USA or Mexico.
The CETA will not give any more possibilities to Canadians, as foreign corporations can already have access to any of the contracts. But, the CETA will encourage cities to take these deals from foreign corporations much more often.
The largest ethical question is the Investor State style enforcement of the rules, borrowed from NAFTA. This means that if your city hall decides to keep an asset in public control by turning down the lowest bid from a foreign corporation, your city hall will be sued for damages. You and your fellow taxpaying community members will have to cover the costs.
Ask NFLD and Labrador how they were sued by AbbittibiBowater for 120 million when this American corporation used NAFTA to receive compensation for what they deemed their corporate rights to east coast land and water even after they shut down all their factories. There have been numerous such cases since NAFTA. CETA, being much more comprehensive, will cause an increase in these corporate attacks on citizens and our assets. Ultimately, with the CETA, it is the people who will have to pay.
Citizens from Southwestern Ontario have named Tuesday, October 16th, the second day of the final round of behind-closed-doors CETA negotiations, as an Ontario lobby day.
We are contacting MPPs to express our concerns about CETA.
* We demand a full public hearing, like the one Quebec people had two weeks ago.
* We urgently ask that the opt-out process written by city councillors across Ontario be honoured by the McGuinty government.
It is the provincial government that makes the decision on who and what is included into the CETA. However, as the vast majority of government officials have not been told about the contents of CETA, they do not recognize that this is an unprecedented Canadian moment, and some are merely going by the party line, that trade will be good for the economy.
The jobs, service and quality of life for your family, your children, your community, and your city are all at stake.