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UPDATE: CETA tour in Newfoundland tonight

The St. John’s Telegram reported this morning, “The Canadian Union of Public Employees wants people to be more aware of free trade negotiations going on between Canada and the European Union. This evening CUPE will hold a town hall meeting with national president Paul Moist, activist Maude Barlow and local fisheries advocate Gus Etchegary. Wayne Lucas, CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador president, said he hopes to provide information about what the trade agreement could mean for Canadians. …The event takes place this evening at The Lantern on Barnes Road in St. John’s.”

This evening, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow reports, “It was a great evening. There were about 125 people at the Lantern. Gus Etchegary was unbelievable. He gave the whole history of the sell-out of the Newfoundland fishery and had people in tears and got a standing ovation. Paul Moist was on VOCM and NTV, I was on CBC Radio. The Telegram was at this evening’s event and did an interview. Board member Andrea Furlong was there, and chapter activist Ken Kavanagh too – both are great.”

Tonight’s event in St. John’s completes the spring/summer 7-city Council of Canadians-CUPE speaking tour against CETA – with stops in Calgary (April 29), Montreal (May 24), Toronto (May 26), Saskatoon (May 31), Winnipeg (June 27), Halifax (June 28). To date, the tour has reached an audience totalling 1500 people in 7 provinces.

More CETA speaking tour dates are now being planned for the fall, including Moncton on September 10.

Update: The St. John’s Telegram reports this morning: “The Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Council of Canadians have been holding meetings across the country in major cities for several months in an effort to put the brakes on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, which are about to begin its eighth round of talks. …About 140 people crowded into The Lantern to hear their opinions. Together they urged the public to pressure their local politicians to reject CETA.”

“Maude Barlow, national chairwoman of the Council of Canadians, …raised a number of issues at Wednesday’s meeting. ‘CETA is bad for Canada. It is an agreement that would allow big European service companies and others to come in and challenge our public services,’ she said. ‘It’s a bad deal. Europe is privatizing many of its public services … that’s the model they want for Canada. It’s the model Stephen Harper wants for Canada, and it’s one we need to reject.'”

“But one person who was not at the meeting was Nova Scotia MP Gerald Keddy, parliamentary secretary to the minister of International Trade. Keddy took issue with some of the comments used by CETA opponents in recent media interviews – specifically that free trade would imperil Canadians’ access to water. ‘Anywhere else in the world … that’s called fear mongering. I mean, we’re adults here. They should try to have an adult conversation about this very, very important issue we’ve been working on and are continuing to work on,’ said Keddy. ‘I’m asking for common sense to prevail here, OK?’…”