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NEWS: Barlow expresses disappointment that NDP may back Canada-EU free trade

Postmedia News reports, “New Democratic Party leader Tom Mulcair faces a risky balancing act as he weighs the possibility of supporting the proposed Canada-Europe free trade agreement. …(Mulcair recently stated) to The Vancouver Sun that he is ‘very open’ to endorsing a Canada-EU deal, as long as concerns in areas like prescription drugs are satisfied.”

“‘I’m very disappointed and I think it’s disturbing and a mistake,’ said Council of Canadians national director Maude Barlow, a key figure in the emotional 1988 election that was fought over free trade. …’We want a progressive government in power too,’ Barlow said. ‘But we have to weigh what they’re losing in terms of their moral compass, if you will, to what they might gain from some votes.’ …(She argues) that the NDP could still succeed while at the same time convincing Canadians that trade deals giving foreign businesses a ‘Corporate Bill of Rights’ is contrary to Canada’s interests.”

“Among those MPs most likely to object are high-profile B.C. MPs Libby Davies, usually considered the leader of the party’s left wing in caucus, and Peter Julian, former executive director of a strongly anti-trade-deal organization, the Council of Canadians. Finance critic Peggy Nash, meanwhile, is a former senior official with the Canadian Auto Workers, which is bitterly critical of some of the elements expected to be included in the Canada-EU trade agreement. …It would also put Mulcair at odds with B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix, one of the most high-profile Canadian opponents of the deal on the political stage. Dix has focused on concerns that enhanced drug patent protection would lead to higher consumer prices if negotiators, said to be close to a final deal, are successful.”

That all said, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is still determined to paint the NDP as anti-trade. Harper recently stated in the House of Commons, “I know the NDP members are trying to shift all over the spectrum these days, but they are not fooling anyone with that one. The fact of the matter is this is a party that is … ideologically opposed to trade. (The NDP) has opposed every single trade initiative … because of its socialist ideology.”

The full article can be read at http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Mulcair+tightrope+ponders+Canada+free+trade/7949873/story.html. For more, please see NEWS: Federal NDP ponders support for Canada-EU CETA, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=19138 and NEWS: NDP ponders CETA, Quebec Solidaire seeks help of MEPs to defeat it, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=19082.