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Barlow challenges CETA in Leeds, says it will mean more tar sands oil in Europe

Photo by Nick Dearden
Barlow spoke in Leeds last night.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow spoke in Leeds last night (Nov. 3) against the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the United States-European Union Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision.

Leeds is the third largest city in the United Kingdom and it’s situated about 315 kilometres north of London.

Barlow is currently on a 7-city tour of the United Kingdom organized by Global Justice Now, which is “a democratic social justice organisation working as part of a global movement to challenge the powerful and create a more just and equal world.” Her co-panelists are Yash Tandon, Ugandan trade expert and author of Trade is War, and Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now.

Yesterday, Dearden tweeted:

  • ‘NAFTA only lowered standards. Not one thing improved. #CETA and TTIP will be the same’ Maude Barlow in Leeds tonight. #NoTTIP

  • ‘Canada has paid out £200million to American corporations who didn’t like our laws, under NAFTA’ Maude Barlow in Leeds tonight. #NoTTIP

  • #CETA will increase the flow of tar sands into Europe. Maude Barlow speaking in Leeds tonight. #NoTTIP

On that last point, Europe imported about 4,000 barrels of tar sands a day in 2012. The Natural Resources Defence Council has predicted that will rise to 725,000 barrels a day by 2020. That’s in part because the distinction between conventional oil and tar sands oil was dropped from the European Fuel Quality Directive, a guideline that required fuel suppliers to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport sector by 6 per cent, as a result of pressure from Canada, the United States and Big Oil during these so-called ‘free trade’ negotiations. More on that here.

This week, Barlow wrote in both the New Internationalist and The People’s Daily Morning Star that, “I’m coming on a speaking tour of the UK to share a powerful story of Canada’s experience that is relevant for two reasons. The first is that we Canadians have lived with ISDS for 20 years. The other reason people of the UK and Europe should care about Canada is that the CETA is a ‘done deal’, meaning that, even though it has not been ratified politically, the negotiations are finished and they contain ISDS provisions. CETA could act as a ‘back room’ for American corporations whether TTIP is adopted or not.”

During the tour, Barlow has been highlighting her new 15-page report Fighting TTIP, CETA and ISDS: Lessons from Canada (which is also available in French, German and Spanish).

The Global Justice Now tour began in Dundee (Nov. 1) and then visited Manchester (Nov. 2). The tour now goes to London (Nov. 5), Oxford (Nov. 6), Cardiff (Nov. 7) and Dublin (Nov. 8). Following the UK tour, Barlow will also be speaking on trade justice at stops in Madrid (Nov. 10-11), Barcelona (Nov. 12), Vienna (Nov. 16-17), Karlsruhe (Nov. 24-25) and Paris (Nov. 29).

It is important to build opposition to CETA in the United Kingdom because the UK has 73 seats in the European Parliament, which will vote on the ratification of CETA likely sometime next year. It is also very likely that the British Parliament – and all European Union member state national legislatures – will vote on the ratification of CETA in the new year.