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Council of Canadians to protest CETA ceremony in Ottawa on Sept. 26

CETA protest on Parliament Hill

The Council of Canadians and allies are organizing a protest against CETA on September 26 in Ottawa.

Council of Canadians trade campaigner Scott Harris writes, “On September 26, officials from Canada and the European Union will meet at a ceremony in Ottawa to officially announce that negotiations for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are finished and the text has been finalized.”

In response to this, there will be a march to Parliament Hill and a noon-hour rally. The protest is being organized by the Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition with support from the Trade Justice Network, the Quebec Network on Continental Integration (RQIC), and Campact Germany.

The Seafarers International Union is organizing buses that will leave from Montreal, Quebec City, Thorold and Toronto the morning of September 26 for this rally. To reserve a seat on the bus, please e-mail Verena at vgarofalo@seafarers.ca by September 22.

Despite the triumphalism that will likely accompany the ceremony, CETA can (and will) be defeated.

The Globe and Mail reports today, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper and EU President Jose Manuel Barroso are slated to initial a text of the Canada-EU agreement next week in Ottawa. But implementation is still as long as two years away. In addition to the EU Parliament vote, legislatures in each of the 28 EU member countries will almost certainly have to approve it as well.” Those two years are critical and there is the possibility that any one of those 28 member states could veto the deal. There is already opposition in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg for us to build on.

The deal would also have to survive the European Parliament. Yesterday Xinhua reported, “Divisions were evident in a European Parliament debate Wednesday on a proposed trade agreement between the European Union and Canada. …A number of MEPs voiced concerns, particularly over the ‘investor-to-state dispute settlement clause’, which could enable investors to sue national governments over policies perceived as harmful to business.” And in late August, Reuters reported, “Together with the Socialists’ 191 members, the political groups [in the European Parliament] opposing the agreement could count on 341 votes, just 35 short of a majority.” And if you add the non-attached members who have also expressed opposition to CETA, we’re closer to just 12 votes short of a majority.

To join the protest in Ottawa, please assemble outside the Transport Canada building (330 Sparks Street) starting at 11:30 am. From there we’ll march to Parliament Hill for the noon-hour rally.

For more on the Council of Canadians campaign against CETA, please click here.