The Council of Canadians asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop the Canada-China Free Trade Agreement talks this afternoon.
Exploratory talks on the proposed deal are happening this week (April 24-28) at an undisclosed location in Ottawa.
Undaunted by the secrecy of the talks, Ottawa office staff held a banner in front of Langevin Block (where the Prime Minister's Office is located), knocked on the front-door in an effort to raise our concerns with a PMO representative, delivered a leaflet to the Langevin Block mailbox (after we were told no one from the PMO would speak with us), and even spoke briefly with Trudeau's driver to see if he would take a leaflet to pass on to the Prime Minister (he politely declined).
CTV was there to report on this action.
A Nanos Research survey earlier this month found that 88 per cent of Canadians would be uncomfortable or somewhat uncomfortable with a deal that would allow Chinese state-owned corporations to buy high-tech firms and that would allow these corporations to invest in the tar sands. In addition, 66 per cent of respondents said that Canada should link human rights to a free trade deal.
These findings run counter to what the Chinese government has demanded (ability to purchase high-tech companies, the lifting of investment barriers in the tar sands, that democracy or human rights have no place in trade talks).
Charles Burton, a former counsellor at the Canadian embassy in Beijing, has previously commented in The Globe and Mail, "Opinion polls indicate most Canadians do not want further political-economic integration with China, but elements of Canada’s business elite, with lucrative connections to Chinese business networks, are lobbying the Prime Minister’s Office hard to push on."
The Trudeau government has launched an online public consultation on the proposed Canada-China FTA -- strangely, six months after it announced exploratory talks would take place and three weeks after those talks began in Beijing. This 90-day consultation period ends on Friday June 2.
While the government's online form does not allow for a straightforward 'I do not support a Canada-China FTA' statement, you can send a message as clear as that to the consultation and the Prime Minister by going to our online action alert - Stop the Canada-China Free Trade Agreement talks!
The Council of Canadians opposes the Canada-China Free Trade Agreement and sees it as detrimental to people and the environment in both Canada and China.