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Provinces stonewalling on badly needed Canada-EU CETA debate

Small- and big-C conservative governments in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador have forced legislative votes on a Canada-EU trade and investment deal no one has seen and that the federal government admitted last week isn’t even finished yet (they need two or three more months). It’s hard to tell how much the votes were designed simply to try and embarrass opposition MLAs, who thankfully voted against the motions in both provinces because there is not enough information.

But the votes leave us wondering if this will be the first and last words for the provinces on CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union) — a symbolic ratification of the deal when what we really need is a comprehensive review of its likely impacts on provincial and local policy and governance generally.

A letter from Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne (pasted below) reinforces this fear. The letter is a response to a polite request from the Trade Justice Network for public consultations on CETA. The Premier doesn’t even mention the request — the entire point of the letter — but sends her “best wishes” instead.

If you want to ask your province for hearings, you can use our action alert here. Please don’t take “no” for an answer. Neither the Council of Canadians nor the Trade Justice Network intends to in Ontario.


Thank you for taking the time to send your further online message about the Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). I always welcome the opportunity to hear your views, as promoting and protecting the interests of Ontario is our top priority in these negotiations.

Our government is pleased that an agreement in principle has been reached in the Canada-EU trade negotiations. Our province has much to gain from an agreement, given Ontario’s trade activity, broad economic base and the size of the EU market.

As you know, the EU is Ontario’s second largest trading partner and the largest single market in the world, with over 500 million consumers and a GDP of close to $17 trillion. An agreement between Canada and the EU will lead to more stable commercial relations and form a solid base for economic and trade growth in the future.

Ontario is a trade-intensive jurisdiction and the Canada-European Union negotiations represent

a significant opportunity to maximize the benefits of trade for Ontario. Diversifying and expanding trade is a key component of Ontario’s recently announced Going Global Trade Strategy. Our government will continue to work closely with the federal government to finalize this important agreement and to highlight Ontario’s interests.

Our government is committed to taking full advantage of the new opportunities that CETA is expected to create. We will work with businesses in Ontario to help them enter into — and succeed — in the EU market.

Once again, thank you for writing to me with your concerns. Please accept my best wishes.


Kathleen Wynne

Premier of Ontario

c:      The Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins