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VIEW: N.S. rights must be protected in Canada-EU trade talks, say Giles and Cavanagh

Council of Canadians Atlantic organizer Angela Giles and CUPE Nova Scotia president Danny Cavanagh write in the Halifax Chronicle Herald (with 114,000 daily readers) that, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper has engaged Canada, the provinces and territories in an overwhelming free-trade experiment with the European Union. The deal, a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, goes well beyond what most of us would understand as trade. CETA is designed to limit the types of economic and social policies that Nova Scotia can put in place.”

Giles and Cavanagh outline the threats CETA poses to procurement, fisheries, health care, farmers, and democracy. They also highlight that, “The EU also wants water utilities and water-treatment services included in the deal, which would put pressure on municipalities to privatize water systems and give favourable treatment to large EU-based private water firms such as Veolia and Suez. Combined with the procurement chapter, it will be impossible for Nova Scotia communities to get the most employment and environmental benefits out of water system upgrades.”

They conclude, “As we have expressed to members of the provincial government’s negotiating team, Nova Scotia needs to explicitly raise these concerns with the other provinces and Canadian negotiators. Without a clear position, we are concerned our province will be dragged into ‘signing on’ to the final text in a rush to reach ‘consensus’ and an agreement.”

Their letter to editor can be read at http://thechronicleherald.ca/Letters/1224765.html.