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LETTER: Whistler chapter critiques CETA

In a letter to the editor published in the Squamish Chief (with a circulation of 6,484 readers), Council of Canadians Whistler chapter activist Pina Belperio writes, “The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (a.k.a. CETA)… is being negotiated as a ‘next-generation’ free trade deal that goes beyond NAFTA and the WTO in shielding corporate activity from government controls.”

She adds, “CETA will be the largest free-trade deal this country has ever undertaken and last week (Jan. 17 to 21), Canada’s government and corporate leaders met in Brussels for the sixth round of negotiations. Representatives of a number of Canadian NGOs also travelled to Europe to oppose the deal, raise concerns and to encourage members of the EU Parliament to put CETA negotiations on hold, and allow for public debates in both Canada and Europe.”

Belperio highlights, “For the first time ever, the provincial governments are involved, and foreign firms can bid on procurement contracts at the municipal level. EU trade negotiators have asked that drinking water be included, opening the door to large EU multinational water companies, like Suez and Veolia, to stake a claim in Canada’s public water systems. Unlike NAFTA, the Canada-E.U. free trade agreement would interfere with local and municipal policies for the first time, and yet our mayors and municipal councillors are not part of the negotiations.”

And she asks readers to, “Contact your local MLA, MPs, mayor and councillors and find out if they are in favour of this deal. If so, ask them how it would affect your community and how CETA would strengthen Canada’s social, economic and environmental policies. Demand that the provinces and territories take immediate steps to remove water from the scope of the proposed CETA agreement. Get informed about the forthcoming changes. Visit http://tradejustice.ca to learn more. Spread the news.”

To read Pina’s full letter, please go to http://www.squamishchief.com/article/20110128/SQUAMISH0303/301289959/-1/squamish/a-different-type-of-trade-deal.