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NEW RESOURCE: Trade Justice Network debunks five Harper myths about the Canada-EU trade deal

The Trade Justice Network, to which the Council of Canadians is a member, has released a “mythbusting” document to challenge misleading statements the federal government is making about the benefits of the Canada-EU free trade deal (CETA) to Canadian municipalities. It comes at a timely moment as Conservative ministers fan out across Canada to promote CETA this Friday. “Having looked into the impacts the CETA would have on their powers, over 50 municipal governments have passed motions seeking more information and a greater say in the negotiations,” says the TJN in its report, Is CETA Good for Cities? “More than half of these municipalities, including many large cities like Toronto, Mississauga and Hamilton, are asking the provinces to exclude local governments entirely from the EU trade deal.” On April 16, the B.C. Town of New Westminster joined that growing list and we promptly added it to our interactive map. And today we read in The Daily Observer, an Ottawa Upper Valley publication, that Renfrew County’s finance and administration committee, following presentations from the Council of Canadians and National Farmers Union, would like to seek an exemption from CETA from the provincial government. “As municipalities we want to be exempt, entirely from the procurement negotiations,” said Renfrew County Mayor Briscoe. “There has been a lot of secrecy and we are lost (regarding the agreement).” The article continues: Along with asking the federal and provincial governments to seek an exemption for Ontario municipalities for procurement, the committee is also asking the government to continue its support of the three pillars of the agricultural supply management system, namely production, management import control, and a pricing policy that covers production costs. The recommendation also requests that both governments disclose initial procurement, services and investment offers to the EU. On May 1 the City of London, Ontario will consider a similar motion to request an exemption after hearing from numerous people and groups in the community, including the local Council of Canadians chapter and the Stop CETA coalition, that it’s the best way to protect local democracy from overly restrictive trade, investment and procurement rules. The federal government “has tried to pacify these growing concerns in a Q&A-style document circulated to Canadian municipalities,” says the TJN mythbuster. “Unfortunately, the information in the document is extremely misleading and in parts inaccurate. It also fails to address many of the real concerns being raised by municipal governments through their CETA motions. The following myth-busting guide attempts to set the record straight for municipal councillors and officials, as well as the general public.” Click here to download the myth-busting guide in English and here for the French version. Click here to see the federal Q+A. Click here for a municipal resolution toolkit to help you approach your city, town or school board about the Canada-EU trade deal.