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VIEW: Newfoundland and Labrador needs to raise concerns about CETA, say Giles and Lucas

Council of Canadians Atlantic organizer Angela Giles and Wayne Lucas, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees – Newfoundland and Labrador, write in the St. John’s Telegram today that, “In a continuing effort to hand our democratic rights over to multinational corporations, Stephen Harper has engaged Canada and the provinces and territories in an overwhelming free trade experiment with the European Union. The deal, called a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), goes well beyond what most of us would understand as trade. CETA is designed to limit the types of economic and social policies that Newfoundland and Labrador can put in place.”

Giles and Lucas highlight that, “Health care is threatened by EU demands in the intellectual property chapter, which would delay the introduction and availability of cheaper generic medicines. The EU objective is to protect the profit-making rights of Big Pharma by extending patents and data protection on new products. Drugs are already a huge cost and any savings we hope to achieve here will be thwarted by CETA.” In fact, a media release today notes that, “Changes to Canada’s drug patent system proposed by the European Union (EU) would add approximately $46-million annually to Newfoundland and Labrador’s prescription drug bill, according to a new study by two of Canada’s top academics on pharmaceutical policy.”

The Telegram has a weekly circulation of 226,901 readers.

To read the full letter to the editor by Angela and Wayne, please go to http://www.thetelegram.com/Opinion/Letters-to-the-editor/2011-02-07/article-2203945/Big-deals-and-big-consequences/1.