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St. John’s chapter opposes Canada-EU ‘free trade’ deal

Marilyn Reid and Ken KavanaghNewfoundland and Labrador premier Paul Davis has again threatened to withdraw his government’s support for the Canada-European Union ‘free trade’ deal. CBC reports Davis saying, “When the time comes, if we have to withdraw our support for CETA [the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement], we’ll withdraw our support for CETA. Our support is contingent on Prime Minister Harper providing that fund. That’s the agreement that we have.”

The fund refers to a federal-provincial agreement announced in October 2013 to assist with the transformation of the fisheries given the relinquishing of the minimum processing requirements on fish bound for Europe as part of the Canada-EU deal. The federal government was to provide $280 million for this $400 million fund. The Harper government now says the fund was always meant to be tied to ‘demonstrable losses’ as a result of the loss of the minimum processing requirements and not ‘a blank cheque’.

Before Davis withdraws his support for CETA, VOCM reports, “He says he will share this province’s story across the country – and he isn’t ruling out a trip to Europe as a way to put pressure on Ottawa to live up to its $280-million commitment.” And Daily Business Buzz notes, “If talking to people in Canada doesn’t work, Davis floated the idea of heading to Europe to talk to the folks on the other side of the trade deal, even though he doesn’t have any sort of official standing to do so.”

The Council of Canadians says he should also talk with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Council of Canadians St. John’s chapter activist Ken Kavanagh states, “If the federal fisheries fund fiasco has proven one thing, it’s that people care deeply about how this agreement will impact communities across the province. If Premier Davis is serious about standing up for the best interests of this province, he needs to commit to having an honest conversation about all the implications of CETA and to giving the people of Newfoundland and Labrador a real say in whether or not they want this agreement.”

St. John’s chapter activist Marilyn Reid has written in The Independent, “The Newfoundland and Labrador government has finally found out what Citizens against CETA and the Council of Canadians have been saying in this province for a long time: You can’t trust what the federal government tells us about CETA. …Defying the vindictive Harper Government would clearly be a heroic gesture. But, even more significantly, it could also be the beginning of a domino effect among the provinces, given many are facing opposition to CETA from their own cities and towns. More than 50 municipalities across the country have disliked or distrusted CETA so much that they have asked their provinces to exempt them. Their requests, of course, were denied.”

And we’ve highlighted that if Harper can’t be trusted on a $280 million contribution to a fisheries fund, then premiers across the country should question the credibility of his promise to compensate them for perhaps $2 billion a year to offset the increased costs of pharmaceutical drugs given the longer patent periods agreed to under CETA.

For more on our campaign to stop CETA, please click here.


Photos: St. John’s chapter activists Marilyn Reid and Ken Kavanagh.