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National Farmers Union tours Ontario on Canada-EU free trade deal

The National Farmers Union, a strong partner in the Trade Justice Network, is touring Ontario communities this month to talk about the threats a proposed Canada-EU free trade deal poses to farmers, social services and municipal governments. Terry Boehm, president of the NFU, begins his three-stop tour in Walkerton tonight then will hit St. Mary’s (20 km southwest of Stratford) tomorrow and Corbyville (4 km north of Belleville) on Thursday. I’ll be speaking alongside Boehm at the Corbyville event, which is co-sponsored by the Council of Canadians.

“The CETA agreement is really a corporate bill of rights. It is more far-reaching than any trade agreement we have ever had before,” says NFU board member Ann Slater in a press release. “Mr. Boehm has a lot of expertise in this area, and we are looking forward to having him share his knowledge with farmers in Ontario.”

Boehm has devoted his life to defending the rights of farmers to save their own seeds and is an expert on trade agreements, having fought NAFTA and the WTO. He has combed through the leaked copies of the CETA texts (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) to see where farmers will be affected, and is probably the most knowledgeable person in Canada on the subject.

“CETA allows the courts to order the precautionary seizure of all of a farmer’s assets, simply for being accused of violating a gene patent or other intellectual property right. Just for being accused, a farmer can be put out of business instantly. It is crucial that Canadians become aware of this,” says Boehm in the NFU statement.

I’ll be talking about CETA’s other impacts on public services, water, and environmental policy, as well as providing an update on the status of the negotiations and what community activists are doing nationally to fight the agreement. Maybe we’ll see you there!