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NEWS: Quebec’s CETA negotiator chairs Veolia Environment Institute

Pierre Marc Johnson, Quebec’s CETA negotiator

Pierre Marc Johnson, Quebec’s CETA negotiator

Le Devoir reports, “The representative of Quebec to the Canada-Europe free trade negotiations, Pierre Marc Johnson, says his integrity is not compromised because of his relationship with an institution on environmental issues funded by the French multinational Veolia.”

“Last month, Mercier MNA Amir Khadir declared that Pierre Marc Johnson was a member of the Board and Chairman of Strategic Committee of Veolia Environnement, a French multinational specialized in the management of public services such as water, energy, waste and passenger transport, areas affected by free trade negotiations underway between Canada and the European Union. Citing the home page of Pierre Marc Johnson on the website of the law firm he works for (Heenan Blaikie), Khadir said the negotiator of Quebec was ‘in perfect conflict of interest’ in these negotiations because it was also ‘an officer of a company in the field of water’, what is more, a company placed more than once under fire for questionable practices.”

Le Devoir notes, “Johnson’s personal page on the Internet makes it clear, Pierre Marc Johnson is on the Board of Directors and chairs an institute on environmental issues 100% financed by the subsidiaries Veolia Environnement. Founded in 2001, the Veolia Environment Institute funds research, publishes studies, provides a showcase for NGOs and organizes international conferences, we learn in its annual report available on the Internet.”

“Amir Khadir now admits that he read too quickly the home page of Pierre Marc Johnson on the Internet. However this does not affect his belief that something fishy is hiding under there. ‘Okay, it is not the board of directors of the company Veolia, but the fact remains that, I suppose, the Veolia Institute has been created to help the widow and the orphan,’ he said in telephone interview with Le Devoir yesterday. ‘In view of the business practices of transnational corporations for at least 30 years, there is good reason to believe that these people do not do this selflessly.’ …’If Mr. Johnson had some sense of ethics of public affairs, he would withdraw himself or us endeavor to publicly demonstrate that it has taken all necessary precautions to avoid not be a conflict of interest.'”

The article – in French –