Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow is in Scotland today to speak against the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the United States-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision.
She will be speaking in Dundee, Scotland’s fourth largest city which is situated about 100 kilometres north of Edinburgh.
The Scotsman reports, “A UK-wide tour of high-profile speakers campaigning against proposed free trade deals between the European Union and North America will kick off in Dundee today. It is the first of seven dates throughout the UK and the Irish Republic that will be fronted by Global Justice Now, a campaign group for the control of world resources ‘by the many not the few’.”
The article continues, “Speakers at today’s meeting in Dundee’s Dalhousie Building include Maude Barlow, trade expert and chair of the Council of Canadians, Yash Tandon, a Ugandan policymaker and professor, and Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now. Barlow said Canada had much experience of corporations being able to sue its government for introducing laws that were beneficial to the environment or workers’ rights, but that dented corporate profits. ‘This was because of a trade deal that we signed a long time ago with the USA’, she said. ‘It’s been a disaster for democracy and has cost the taxpayer billions. I’m in the UK to warn people what has happened in Canada.'”
The article adds, “SNP [Scottish National Party] MPs at Westminster [the parliament of the United Kingdom] have publicly expressed their concern that, without specific safeguards, TTIP and CETA might spark court challenges to the UK and Holyrood [the informal name of the Scottish parliament] governments if businesses did not make a profit out of public services that were privatised.”
And reporting on the tour, The National has noted, “The meeting on Sunday is the only event scheduled in Scotland, where the potential impact of the deal was regularly highlighted at rallies during the referendum campaign.”
In the lead-up to the Sept. 18 independence referendum, Global Justice Now highlighted, “TTIP threatens the authority of the Scottish government and Scottish parliament to freely exercise their powers. Scotland has so far chosen to resist efforts to introduce greater private sector provision in the NHS [National Health Service]. It has also been spared the top-down reorganisation of the NHS that England has seen as a result of the Health and Social Care Act.”
They warned, “TTIP could threaten this public sector oriented model. US companies will be free to bid for NHS contracts where these are offered up for tender, which could lead to the entry of giant US health corporations into the UK. Once entrenched, the multi-million pound lobbying and legal clout of these companies could erode the Scottish NHS. Existing private sector involvement in Scotland’s NHS, through procurement, the provision of services or PFI would become irreversible. Decisions such as the recent move to reduce the extent to which private sector providers are used could lead to the Scottish government being taken to international arbitration by companies.”
In advance of the tour, Barlow wrote in The Ecologist, “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.”
After speaking in Dundee this afternoon (at 3 pm local time, 10 am ET), Barlow will speak against CETA, TTIP and ISDS in Manchester (Nov. 2), Leeds (Nov. 3), London (Nov. 5), Oxford (Nov. 6), Cardiff (Nov. 7), Dublin (Nov. 8), Madrid (Nov. 10-11), Barcelona (Nov. 12), Vienna (Nov. 16-17), Karlsruhe (Nov. 24-25) and Paris (Nov. 29).
Barlow to begin 8-country European tour vs CETA this Sunday (Oct. 29, 2015 blog)