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Quebec sovereignty threatened by CETA: report

A new report from Hydro Quebec’s Research Institute (Institut de recherche d’Hydro-Québec) urges the Quebec government to be cautious how far it opens provincial procurement markets in the proposed Canada-EU free trade agreement. The procurement chapter threatens Quebec’s economic sovereignty, says IREQ, by limiting the ability of government agencies to use public spending to achieve other social goals such as economic development and regional employment. For example, the report highlights that if CETA had been in place in 2003, Quebec would not have been able to insist on 60 per cent provincial content in wind projects. Le Devoir wrote about the IREQ report on Saturday in an article that quotes Jean Charest in Davos claiming there will be a balance in CETA between opening procurement markets and protecting the spending powers of agencies like Hydro Quebec. Quebec and Ontario protected several agencies in the recent Canada-U.S. procurement agreement. IREQ report author Alexandre L. Maltais told Le Devoir that the consequences of the CETA negotiations need to be debated publicly.