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VIEW: ‘We have much more to lose with CETA than we stand to gain’, says Lewenza

Ken Lewenza, the president of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), writes in the Toronto Star that, “A closer look at the contents of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) — released by the newly formed Trade Justice Network — confirmed the suspicions of a growing number of opposition critics that this deal has less to do with eliminating border tariffs for goods and everything to do with reforming the more contentious realm of government policy and domestic regulation.”

“The potential impacts of the CETA are sweeping.”

– “Government procurement practices centred on local and/or ethical purchasing rules would be undercut, leaving governments open to possible lawsuits from private investors.”

– “Public service contracts would be pried open to corporate competition.”

– “Longstanding national marketing and price-setting institutions like the Canadian Wheat Board, as well as economic development programs like the Ontario Green Energy Act could be dismantled.”

– “Canadian intellectual property legislation would be overhauled.”

– “Our national telecommunications sector would be subject to increased foreign ownership and control.”

CETA WOULD MEAN JOB LOSS AND A BIGGER TRADE DEFICIT “So far, this deal’s been sold (mainly to those in the business community) on the premise that it will unlock the doors to a highly lucrative, multi-trillion-dollar foreign market. This sort of rhetoric is baseless.”

“Even a government-commissioned joint study (which estimated GDP growth of $12 billion by 2014) fails to account for the possible economic pitfalls of liberalizing public spending, such as the almost inevitable jobs fallout caused by increased foreign investment, among other overlooked variables.”

“In 2008, Canada held an $18 billion trade deficit in goods with the EU, mostly in high value-added commodities. Our European cousins are primarily interested in purchasing our raw materials like gold, diamonds, oil, uranium, nickel and coal. In turn, we mostly buy back big-ticket items like aircraft, pharmaceuticals, turbines, machinery, wind generators and cars. In fact, for every $1 we sell in autos to Europe, they sell $15. By the government’s own modelling exercise, Canada’s trade deficit with Europe will grow by a further one-third. This would essentially destroy — not create — many of Canada’s most well-paying industrial jobs.”

Lewenza concludes, “It’s high time the public was engaged in the debate (on CETA). We have much more to lose than we stand to gain.”

His full op-ed is at http://www.thestar.com/mobile/opinion/editorialopinion/article/806521–canada-eu-deal-will-affect-more-than-trade.