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NEWS: Business leaders favour Canada-EU CETA

Jason Langrish of the Canada Europe Roundtable for Business is a corporate spokesperson for CETA

Jason Langrish of the Canada Europe Roundtable for Business is a corporate spokesperson for CETA

Go figure, big business wants the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

The Toronto Sun reports that, “The majority of business leaders say Canada has benefited from free-trade agreements and reaching an accord with the European Union should be a government priority, according to a new poll. …Support for an agreement with the EU was strongest in British Columbia at 72% and Alberta at 69%, while Quebec recorded the lowest level of approval at 44%. Views towards free-trade accords also varied with the size of the company, with 74% of businesses with an annual revenue of between $1 billion to $5 billion in favour, while that number fell to 67% among companies with revenue of less than $10 million. …Miller Thomson’s survey polled 200 senior and C-level executives. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within /- 6.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.”

Corporations that signed a 2009 declaration of support for the Canada-EU CETA include water corporations Veolia and Suez; petroleum giants Total, Suncor and Royal Dutch Shell; pharmaceutical corporations AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline; biotechnology giant Monsanto; and mining companies Barrick Gold, Rio Tinto and Alcan. The complete list of signatories is at

All of these corporations stand to profit from CETA. But the agreement is poised to hurt everyone else:

1- An analysis by CAW economist Jim Stanford shows that CETA could mean the loss of up to 152,000 jobs in Canada,;

2- A study by the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association warns that the patent changes being sought by the European Union through CETA could potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to our pharmaceutical drug costs annually,;

3- While trade minister Peter Van Loan argues that CETA will help us all by adding $12 billion to Canada’s GDP, a Library of Parliament study says, “The Canada-EU joint study was completed before the global financial and economic crisis and does not reflect the impact of the crisis, nor of the debt crises facing several EU member states” and advises “caution” in relation to the use of this projection,;

4- The European Commission’s Sustainability Impact Assessment on CETA states, “The Canadian economy is energy and carbon‐intensive. The oil and gas sectors, notably the tar sands industry in Alberta, are in part responsible for the important increase in Canadian greenhouse gas emissions. Where the CETA contributes to greater extraction and investment in the tar sands, it is likely that Canada’s emissions of greenhouse gases will increase”,;

5- The impact assessment also warns that CETA will open the door for European water utilities, such as giant transnationals Suez and Veolia of France, to privatize Canadian public water services and raise rates. Such companies would be able to challenge local water conservation and source protection rules, as well as bottled water bans, as unfair barriers to trade,

The Toronto Sun article on the business leaders poll is at