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An Open Letter to the Voters of Greece

Many Canadians will be watching to see the outcome of the election on January 25. We have seen the polls that suggest Syriza will defeat the New Democracy government. This gives us hope given our opposition to the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

We oppose this deal for numerous reasons including its investor-state dispute settlement provision that allows transnational corporations to sue for a loss in future profits when national governments enact legislation to protect the public interest and the environment. In this scenario, a Canadian-based mining company implementing a destructive mine in Greece could sue a government that passes legislation protecting the water, forests, and people from the toxic extraction of gold and silver.

We are also concerned the inclusion of drinking water in CETA’s procurement and services chapters will promote greater corporate involvement in the provision of this fundamental human right. We agree with the Council of State, your highest administrative court, when it ruled this past spring that water privatization could put public health at risk. And with the investor-state provision, the remunicipalization of a privatized water utility would likely be too cost-prohibitive to consider.

We also dislike various other provisions in the agreement: the degree to which it would promote the growing of genetically modified crops in Canada and their export to Europe, the increased costs it would mean for pharmaceutical drugs given the longer patent protection it grants corporations, and the liberalization of banking rules along with the restrictions it would place on stronger rules to curb the risky practices banks can engage in to further their already excessive profits.

It is with hope that we see Syriza has promised to veto this harmful ‘free trade’ agreement with our country. Syriza is also calling for people to mobilize against the United States-European Union Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). We agree that both deals need to be stopped. That’s because even if TTIP were to be stopped, Canadian subsidiaries of US-headquartered transnational corporations would still be able to use CETA to sue your country.

Best wishes at the polls!