Skip to content

Parliamentary Budget Officer downplays argument that CETA will help the economy

Parliamentary Budget Officer Jean-Denis Frechette.

The Council of Canadians has been calling for the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) to do an analysis of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) since September 2015.

At that time, we commissioned an EKOS Research public opinion survey that found 71 per cent of Canadians supported the idea of the Parliamentary Budget Officer doing an independent economic assessment of the deal.

Now, almost two years later and with just seven weeks left before the provisional application of the deal, the Parliamentary Budget Office says, “CETA will lead to some gains for Canada, but they will be modest.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow says, “The Parliamentary Budget Officer is alerting us to the fact that CETA won’t create 80,000 new jobs and put thousands of dollars in our pockets, as was previously claimed by the Harper government.”

Barlow emphasizes, “In exchange for a pitiful amount of economic growth, we will increase lawsuits from European companies, destroy our family farms, decimate our fisheries, and raise our drug prices. It just doesn’t make sense.”

The Harper government had boasted CETA would also add $12 billion to the Canadian economy. The PBO says the number is closer to $7.9 billion, but highlights, “This is a small effect in a $2 trillion economy, but nonetheless represents an average gain in income of about $220 per person.”

The PBO’s calculation runs counter to the Tufts University CETA Without Blinders study that found as a result of CETA average income in Canada is projected to fall by $2,650 by 2023 – and result in 23,000 lost jobs in Canada.

Furthermore, the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs voted against CETA in December 2016 because of these economic indicators.

The Huffington Post reported, “The committee report cited economic models showing the European Union stands to lose 204,000 jobs as a result of the trade deal, including 45,000 job losses in France, 42,000 in Italy and 19,000 in Germany.”

In February, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Members of the European Parliament, “If we are successful, CETA will become the blueprint for all ambitious, future trade deals. If we are not, this could well be one of the last. So make no mistake about it, this is an important moment.”

Contrary to the Prime Minister’s promises, the evidence suggests CETA is not a successful “blueprint” of a trade deal for people.

iPolitics notes, “The Liberals’ CETA implementation bill, C-30, passed at third reading in February, with the Liberals and Conservatives voting for it and the rest of the opposition voting against it. It’s currently before the Senate foreign affairs and international trade committee, which holds its next C-30 meeting on Wednesday [May 3].”

Council of Canadians trade campaigner Sujata Dey will be presenting to the committee this afternoon.

To call on the Trudeau government to stop C-30, please click here.