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NEWS: Kamloops MP McLeod gets her facts wrong on CETA

Cathy McLeod defends CETA

Cathy McLeod defends CETA

The Kamloops Daily News reports, “A coalition of opponents, including the Council of Canadians, is calling for an end to the (Canada-EU free trade) talks. Echoing concerns that preceded the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement more than 20 years ago, they argue an agreement would weaken or prevent social, health and environmental regulations, protecting investor rights at the expense of democratic rights. …As critics accused the Harper government of secrecy surrounding trade talks with the European Union, (Conservative) MP Cathy McLeod (Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo) defended the negotiations for their long-term benefit to Canadians. ‘With one in five Canadian jobs dependent on trade, a trade agreement with the EU has the potential to benefit Canada enormously, with a 20-per-cent boost in bilateral trade, a $12 billion annual increase to Canada’s economy and almost 80,000 new jobs, an extra $1,000 for the average Canadian family,’ McLeod said in a news release.”

But McLeod’s numbers are suspect:

1- $12 billion? While the Conservatives like to use this figure, a Library of Parliament study says, “The Canada-EU joint study (that first suggested this number) 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 this projection. Swiss Institute for International Economics Director Simon Evenett says, “The number is almost certainly suspect.” An independent assessment, performed by a private firm in the EU and released this past August, says Canada’s GDP might increase 0.18 and 0.36 per cent from transatlantic free trade. That’s about $3 billion or $6 billion, the amount that CETA is predicted to cost Canadians in increased prescription drug prices if intellectual property reforms sought by the EU are part of the final deal. To read more, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=5281 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10350.

2- 80,000 new jobs? An analysis by CAW economist Jim Stanford shows that CETA could mean the loss of between 28,000 and up to 152,000 jobs in Canada. He says the deal would batter the manufacturing sector, wiping out thousands of jobs in food processing, apparel making and the auto industry. To read more on CETA and job loss, please go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5110.

The article also notes, “Wayne Easter, international trade critic with the federal Liberals, said Friday the Conservative government refuses to be open and transparent about the talks. ‘The lack of transparency and secrecy surrounding the CETA negotiations is deeply concerning,’ Easter said in a news release. ‘While the members of the European Parliament are advised, briefed and can actually have input into the process of negotiations, Canadian parliamentarians have been intentionally excluded from the process by this Conservative government.'”