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UPDATE: The Council to challenge CETA at the European Parliament

A delegation from the Council of Canadians will be raising concerns about the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Members of the European Parliament in Brussels during the fourth round of negotiations on this proposed deal there on July 12-16.

The Council of Canadians delegation will include trade campaigner Stuart Trew, water campaigner Meera Karunananthan, and myself. We will be joined by Larry Brown of the National Union of Public and General Employees and trade expert Scott Sinclair.

Our intervention will include direct lobbying of Members of the European Parliament, media work including a joint op-ed in a major Canadian newspaper (and possibly the Guardian UK) with a key European ally, and a short report.

We will highlight in this intervention: the threat posed by this deal to privatize municipal water services in Canada, the European Parliament’s support for the human right to water (and Canada’s opposition), the proposed inclusion of an investor-state clause (like Chapter 11 in NAFTA) in this agreement, as well as European concerns about the tar sands, and the EU negotiators’ opposition to the local content requirements of Ontario’s Green Energy Act.

While there we will meet with Members of the European Parliament, European civil society allies (including Seattle to Brussels, the Trade Justice Movement, and possibly ‘Shout Out’ speaker John Hillary of War on Want), and Canada’s chief negotiator for this deal.

This intervention will also help assist us with the organizing of a major rally on Friday October 22 outside where the fifth round of negotiations would be taking place in Ottawa. This would happen on the first day of our annual general meeting and it means that chapter delegates from across the country could join in this action. Our Trade Justice Network partners are also now supporting this protest.

We need to move with some haste against CETA now. Trade Minister Peter Van Loan has boasted that the negotiations are going better than expected and that the deal could be signed before the end of 2011.

For a recent campaign blog post on the status of the negotiations, please go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=3538.

For Council of Canadians analysis and actions on CETA, please go to http://canadians.org/CETA.