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London chapter activist writes to Trudeau about Canada-EU ‘free trade’ agreement

Jennifer Chesnut

Council of Canadians London chapter activist Jennifer Chesnut has written Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Chesnut writes, “Please tell me why you passed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement without listening to the concerns of people in this country. With no public hearings, Canadians were not given the chance to name the hardships we’ll endure from a treaty that supersede national law. From increased costs of the most expensive medicines to loss of manufacturing and processing plants, every concern was diminished in the CETA story as a small price to pay.”

She highlights, “Where is the tally record of what makes a good trade deal? Is it the numbers of export to import? Is it the statistics of Canadian companies with potential access to European Union (EU) markets? Even if Canada didn’t have a two-to-one trade deficit with the EU, even if we didn’t just lose our biggest trading partner, England, the free trade story isn’t numbers. It’s real lives. It’s the suffering from countless closures of Canadian factories to compete in cheaper markets and diminishing public wealth and infrastructure. It’s the community instability that never gets discussed when new trade deals are decided upon, as was done in parliament yesterday.”

Chesnut concludes, “Forgive the forward voice of this letter. I am aware of the directness of tone. This is a result not of a lack of respect for the great responsibility of your role, but an intonation towards the weight of the generations coming and the gravity upon which the CETA and other trade deals written in this style will restrict the freedom they’ll have to make decisions. I can only imagine the kind of frustration they will face, when they find they cannot instigate the full authority of their government regulations and further battle untold numbers in corporate lawsuits. This in a world of unknown environmental, social and political complexity. It’s for them I write.”

To read her full letter, please click here.