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NEWS: Council of Canadians says no to CETA talks during the election

Stuart Trew

Stuart Trew

The Ottawa Citizen reports, “The Canada-European Union free-trade agreement expected to be concluded later this year will bring less than half the benefits originally projected when negotiations were announced in 2008, according to an EU-commissioned analysis. The draft (EU) study supports the contention of economists who argued earlier this year that the Canadian government’s frequent claims of a $12-billion windfall in annual wealth for Canada by 2014 is ‘suspect’ and a political ‘sales pitch’.”

“Free trade critics say the report backs their argument that Prime Minister Stephen Harper should postpone the next round of negotiations, to take place (April 11-15 in Ottawa), so that Canadians can debate the issue during the election campaign. ‘Harper should explain why his government is ready to sell out Canada’s farmers, municipalities and public services for a measly $6 billion, or half what he wants to give away in corporate tax cuts over the coming years,’ Council of Canadians spokesman Stuart Trew said Wednesday.”

“(A joint Canada-EU study) 2008 report projected that an ambitious agreement would boost Canada’s gross domestic product by 0.77 per cent, or about $13 billion, by 2014. The EU was expected to get a 0.08-per-cent hike to its much-larger GDP, or roughly $19 billion. But the new study, despite using the same parameters as the 2008 analysis, estimates that Canada will gain between 0.29 to 0.36 per cent (or about $6 billion), depending on the level of ambition in the deal, while the EU is set to pick up a GDP increase of just 0.02-0.03 per cent. Furthermore, the impact assessment’s projected payoff won’t be reached until the year 2020 rather than 2014.”

The new report also says, “(CETA) will clearly reduce regulatory flexibility in Canada” by preventing governments and public bodies from favouring local suppliers, it could reduce economic, social and “potentially environmental policy space”, and it will mean higher prescription drug prices for Canadians if EU demands for intellectual property rights/ patents are accepted.

“The draft (report) is the last step before the final report of the EU-Canada Sustainability Impact Assessment is released in late April. The analysis is required by the European Commission in order to assess the economic, social and environmental impacts of trade agreements being negotiated.”

The full article is at