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NEWS: British prime minister calls for quick signing of CETA, more tar sands

Market News International reports, “(In his speech to a joint session of the Canadian House of Commons and Senate, British Prime Minister David) Cameron urged liberalized trade as the way for the world to right itself and said the prolonged and stalled Doha round of trade liberalization negotiations had to be revived. If they cannot be revived soon, he urged a kind of free trade agreement among what he said would be, in a borrowed phrase, ‘a coalition of the willing’ countries. Others could come in later. Cameron did not explain further, but he went on to endorse the Canada-European Union negotiations for a comprehensive trade and economic agreement.”

Embassy magazine adds, “(Cameron) and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed off on a joint declaration, A Stronger Partnership for the 21st Century. …Along with security and development co-operation, prosperity was a key focus of the declaration. The ongoing free-trade negotiations between Europe and Canada were at the heart of the matter. ‘We will seek an ambitious and mutually successful outcome to the negotiation of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement,’ reads the document. …Mr. Cameron expressed a desire to quickly ink the deal. ‘And let’s set an example to the world by concluding early next year the comprehensive economic and trade agreement between Europe and Canada, which will deliver a huge boost to growth and jobs on both sides,’ Mr. Cameron told a special joint session of Parliament, drawing applause from both sides of the aisle.”

And in an article heavily emphasizing environmental opposition to the tar sands, Postmedia News reports, “With pressure mounting on Canada over the environmental footprint of oilsands development, British Prime Minster David Cameron moved to strengthen business ties with Alberta Thursday, announcing his country is opening a full consulate in Calgary, the heart of the oilpatch.”

Earlier yesterday, the Globe and Mail reported, “A British group that opposes the tar sands is warning Prime Minister David Cameron, who will visit Parliament Hill on Thursday, that it does not serve him well to get too close to his Canadian counterpart, Stephen Harper. In a strongly worded release, the UK Tar Sands Network demands that the ‘British government stop defending Canada’s criminal record on climate change’. ‘We would just like to say that David Cameron needs to look at how far he is sidling up to Canada in terms of pushing tar sands oil at a time when people in Europe and the UK are opposed to tar sands extraction,’ Gemma Long, a campaigner with the group, said in a telephone interview from Britain. She said Britain is one of the few countries that is trying to stop the Fuel Quality Directive that is before the European Union. It aims to tighten the environmental standards for transport fuels coming to the continent.”

The article also notes, “At the moment, Europe does not rely on the tar sands for oil. But that could change if the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport the bitumen extracted from the sands to the Gulf of Mexico for processing, said Ms. Long. From there it could be shipped around the world. ‘The emissions from the tar sands will have a global impact on climate change initiatives that affect everyone,’ she said. ‘Instead of moving away to renewable energy paradigm, the Canadian government is keeping the world stuck, not only in oil but the dirtiest form of oil.'”

The Council of Canadians has been working with the UK Tar Sands Network to defeat the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). To read about our collaboration this past January during the sixth round of negotiations in Brussels, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=5139. To read more about a UK Tar Sands Network event in July – during the eighth round of talks – that featured Council of Canadians Board member Dr. John O’Connor and trade campaigner Stuart Trew, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=9593.

For more on the UK Tar Sands Network, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22UK+Tar+Sands+Network%22 and http://www.no-tar-sands.org/. The Globe and Mail article is at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/keep-alberta-oil-off-your-hands-environmentalists-warn-british-pm/article2175933/. The Embassy report is at http://www.embassymag.ca/dailyupdate/view/122. And the Postmedia News article can be found at http://www2.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=5444972.