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UPDATE: Au revoir Bruxelles

It’s just after 7:30 am here in Brussels (1:30 am EST) and I am about to start the journey back to Canada.

The Council of Canadians joined forces this past week with the Trade Justice Network, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the National Union of Public and General Employees, and ATTAC-Quebec to fight the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) during its fourth round of negotiations here.

During our time here we met with many Members of the European Parliament, representatives of the political groups in the EP, and allies – notably Corporate Europe Observatory and Food and Water Watch Europe, spoke to domestic and international media, delivered petitions opposing CETA to the Canadian embassy to the EU, worked to better understand the politics and political institutions of the EU, supported the UN resolution on the right to water at the EP, heard from Canada’s chief CETA negotiator, and made new and exciting plans to stop CETA before it is scheduled to be signed in late-2011.

All of this would not have been possible without the generous support of Council of Canadians members.

As I await my flight to Amsterdam then Montreal (and then a bus ride to Ottawa), I know that we can have a ‘WIN!’ and see the defeat of CETA and its agenda of deregulation, privatization and liberalization.

I think this is the case because CETA:

1- would make cost-prohibitive the taking back of any privatized water services in Canada owned by the giant European water corporations

2- would restrict the rules on municipal spending in Canada to favour the interests of European corporations, not local needs and priorities

3- would impose the flawed Chapter 11 investor-state dispute mechanism of NAFTA on an already-questioning European Union

4- seeks to end popularly-supported European restrictions against the import of Canadian genetically-modified crops and hormone-treated beef

5- has already made draft European rules on the import of climate-damaging tar sands oil weaker and a ‘trade issue’, not an environmental measure.

The more Canadians and Europeans alike understand this agenda, the more they will reject it. The more Canadians and Europeans work together to defeat CETA, the quicker this moment will come.

An important next step for us will be a major demonstration on Friday October 22 against CETA during its fifth round of negotiations in Ottawa. Please join us for that.