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NEWS: Council raises CETA concerns in PEI

Photo from The Guardian (PEI). http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2010-10-19/article-1860029/Council-campaigns-against-trade-agreement/1

Photo from The Guardian (PEI)

The Charlottetown Guardian reports that, “The local chapter of the Council of Canadians is campaigning against a new trade agreement (the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) it says will weaken public services and lower environmental standards on P.E.I.”

Council of Canadians vice-chair Leo Broderick says, “It has been described as worse than NAFTA. It’s bad for Canada. It’s bad for Prince Edward Island.” The article als notes, “Broderick said EU trade negotiators have requested that drinking water service be included in the CETA, opening the door for large European multinational water companies to stake claim in Canada’s public water systems. Under CETA, companies would gain unprecedented access to municipal water services and maybe even a claim to the water itself. …Broderick said the Council is asking the P.E.I. government to intervene. ‘We’re calling on the government to demand that P.E.I. be excluded (from CETA) and that municipalities be excluded.”’

Trade campaigner Stuart Trew says, “Municipalities are being asked to make considerable sacrifices to their spending powers.” The article adds, “Trew calls CETA the most far-reaching trade agreement since NAFTA, noting that it’s happening without consultation. He said cities, schools and hospitals will be prohibited from giving preferential treatment to locally-owned businesses and services over any European equivalent. In terms of agriculture, Trew said the new trade agreement will give biotech, pharmaceutical, pesticide, seed and grain companies new tools to force farmers to buy gene-patented seeds at high prices. It will also eliminate the rights of farmers to save, reuse and sell seed. Trew said corporations could seize farmers’ crops, equipment, and farms and freeze their bank accounts if they are found with crops from patented seeds that they did not pay royalties on.”

Last night, both Leo and Stuart spoke at a Council of Canadians-organized public forum at the Murphy Community Centre in Charlottetown on CETA and its impact on municipal governments. Several municipal candidates were at the well-attended public forum. Municipal elections will be held in Charlottetown, Summerside, Stratford and Cornwall on Monday November 1.

The full Guardian article can be read at http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2010-10-19/article-1860029/Council-campaigns-against-trade-agreement/1.