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ELECTION 2011: Two new surveys gauge party positions on CETA, water

Two surveys were released today on how party leaders feel about the Canada-EU free trade negotiations. The first, by the Trade Justice Network and Quebec Network on Continental Integration (RQIC), was answered by the NDP, Liberals and Bloc and is viewable at tradejustice.ca. It questioned the parties on their level of support for the CETA negotiations, but also on the nitty-gritty of the deal (ex. Do they want to include an investor-state mechanism? Do they think water services should be included? Would they support a broad exemption for health services, including health insurance?)

The NDP were the most critical of the negotiations, with the Bloc a close second. The Liberals were very supportive of CETA. In fact, they cited GDP gains higher than those the Conservatives have been claiming. Both numbers have since been shown to be highly exaggerated. The Liberals also dodged a question on supply management, and did not (as other parties did) commit to a broad cultural exemption as exists in NAFTA and Canada’s other trade deals. The Greens, whose platform demands new fair trade agreements, and Conservatives, who obviously support CETA, did not respond.

A second survey, released today from Eau Secours, a prominent Quebec coalition for responsible water management, focuses on water, but includes a few questions on CETA and trade agreements more generally. These included whether the parties would pull sub-national procurement off the table in CETA negotiations, and whether they would agree to exclude water services from all trade agreements. You can read a press release about their survey, and see responses to their questions from the Bloc and Communist parties, by clicking here.

The Bloc agrees that water and water services must be excluded from trade deals, but they admit that it’s not clear water is currently excluded from NAFTA. They say the simplest solution would be to send a letter to the Mexican and U.S. governments stating that Canada interprets NAFTA to exclude water. This is what all opposition parties urged the Conservative government to do in 2007 through a vote in the House of Commons, which the government ignored.

Please share the Trade Justice Network/RQIC press release and survey results with as many people as you can. If you have a Twitter account or Facebook page, go for it. There’s only a few days left before Canadians vote but those concerned about the CETA negotiations can now get a better sense of where the three main opposition parties stand. After all, the next government will have to decide whether to carry on with the talks and how. It’s a perfect moment to put the pressure on for a full public airing of the details.