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Postal workers ask why Canada Post not protected in CETA

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has written to Canada’s lead negotiator in the European Union trade talks (CETA) to “strongly urge” Canada to better protect postal services in the deal.

“CUPW has reviewed Canada’s services and investment offer from October 12, 2011, which was recently leaked by the Quebec Network on Continental Integration, and this offer’s reservation for postal services under Annex I,” starts the letter.

“CUPW is concerned because the Annex I reservation protects Canada Post’s existing exclusive privilege to handle letters, but does not provide the government or a future government with the flexibility to restore Canada Post’s recently abolished exclusive privilege to handle international letters.

“The Annex I reservation also locks in future liberalisation. If the current or a future government were to further reduce Canada Post’s exclusive privilege, it would be irreversible (or at least inconsistent with Canada’s international trade and investment commitments).”

The concerns CUPW expresses about there being no Annex II reservation for postal services are similar to those raised by the Council of Canadians and Canadian Union of Public Employees at the end of January regarding water services. Canada’s existing public systems have been carved out but only to the extent they remain public. No province or territory has carved out space for themselves in the future to bring failed privatizations back in house, or to safely introduce new policies that affect the profits of water companies without fear of trade challenges.

“We strongly urge Canada to take an Annex II reservation for postal services,” concludes the CUPW letter, one of many correspondences between the union and Canada’s CETA negotiators. “As you know, the most recent government review of Canada Post found that ‘there appears to be little to no public support for the privatization or deregulation of Canada Post’. We think the government’s CETA reservation for postal services should reflect the public’s opposition to postal deregulation with a stronger reservation under Annex II.