Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson writes, “Thomas Mulcair is trying to rebrand the New Democratic Party as a responsible alternative to the governing Conservatives, one that could be safely entrusted with protecting and growing the Canadian economy. Yet the NDP has traditionally been suspicious of trade agreements, seeing them as threats to Canadian workers and Canadian sovereignty. So how will the government-in-waiting respond to the raft of free-trade negotiations underway?”
“In principle, the NDP is ready to endorse the (Canada-European Union free trade deal). ‘We fully support pursuing a new trade agreement with Europe,’ said (NDP trade critic Don) Davies. ‘The European Union is exactly the kind of high-standards, modern, dynamic economy that we should be broadening and deepening our trade with. …But does that mean that we necessarily have to sign a deal on intellectual property that expands patent protection for pharmaceuticals if the effect of that is to increase the cost of generic drugs? …Can you sign an agreement between Europe and Canada and still preserve the ability of Canadian governments … to make policy decisions to stimulate or spur local economic growth or to make decisions that protect the environment?’ …Mr. Davies says the NDP will need to read any proposed agreement with the EU before carefully deciding whether to support it. That will be a crucial decision.”
Meanwhile, Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew writes, “Quebec Solidaire, a social movement-based political party in the provincial legislature, has written to progressive European parliamentarians for assistance in forming a common resistance to the Canada-EU free trade deal.” To read Stuart’s blog, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=19065.
As we have previously noted in campaign blogs, the passage of CETA requires the approval of the 736-member European Parliament. 369 MEPs voting against CETA would derail the ratification of the deal. More than 100 Members of the European Parliament have already signed a statement that says CETA should not move forward unless Canada withdraws its challenge at the World Trade Organization of the European Union ban on Canadian seal products. MEPs have also raised numerous other concerns about CETA.
For more on the Council of Canadians campaign against CETA, please see http://canadians.org/ceta.