Letter from Canadian and Quebecois politicians: Do not ratify CETA

Letter from Canadian and Quebecois politicians from across political parties who join us in asking French politicians to not ratify CETA.

Ottawa, Monday, July  15, 2019

To the Members of the French National Assembly

Dear Friends,

We are Members of Parliament in Canada’s House of Commons and Members of the Québec National Assembly who have been following the debate on the Canadian-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) closely. During the ratification of the agreement, the political parties in the Canadian Parliament ─ the New Democratic Party, the Green Party and the Bloc Québécois with the support of the Québec solidaire─ voted against CETA’s implementation.

Unfortunately, the debate in the House of Commons was limited, with only three days of discussion and did not involve civil society actors along the way.  This is why we are urging you, as French Parliamentarians, to do the better in this matter, and to not ratify this deal.

Canadians, Québécois and French citizens have many common concerns.  We want our governments to work vigilantly to address the climate crisis, and we want to protect our societies from the rampant inequality crisis affecting us all.

CETA works against our common desires. CETA is based on a blueprint for trade that gives incredible rights to corporations—in the areas of protection, patents, public services, regulatory harmonization, and food and agriculture—without extending comparable rights to people, communities and the environment. The deal fails to create strong labour and environmental provisions that are binding.

On both sides of the Atlantic there will be losses. Canada and Québec's farmers will see their supply management system threatened, while European farming standards will face pressure from big agribusiness. In Canada, our patent rules have already been changed, thereby raising costs of medicines for the population.  In both parties, our abilities to support local economies and implement buy-local policies will be hampered by this deal.

What’s worse, large corporations will be able to challenge our public policies through the investment dispute settlement (ICS) provisions We were heartened when this first element did not make it into the new NAFTA agreement. We believe that it doesn’t belong in CETA either.

We agree that trade between our countries and continents is important.  However, we believe in a type of trading relationship very different from this one. We strive for a trading relationship that addresses the fundamental issues of inequality, human rights and climate change. We believe that you have the ability to make a difference which will not only help French citizens, who oppose this deal, but the rest of us as well.

Sincerely,

  • Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party; chef du Nouveau Parti démocratique
  • Alexandre Boulerice, Deputy Leader of the New Democratic Party, Member of Parliament for Rosemont-Petite Patrie; chef adjoint du Nouveau Parti démocratique,  député de Rosemont-Petite Patrie
  • Tracey Ramsey, Member of Parliament for Essex, New Democratic Party Critic for Justice and International Trade; députée d’Essex, Nouveau Parti démocratique, critique en matière de justice et du commerce international
  • Brigitte Sansoucy, Member of Parliament for Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, New Democratic Party; députée de Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, Nouveau Parti démocratique
  • Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada; chef du Parti Vert du Canada
  • Paul Manly, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, Green Party of Canada; député de Nanaimo-Ladysmith, Parti vert du Canada
  • Catherine Dorion, Member of the National Assembly, Taschereau, Québec solidaire, Spokesperson for the 2nd opposition on international and solidarity relations; députée de Taschereau, Québec solidaire, Porte-parole du deuxième groupe d’opposition en matière de relations et de solidarité internationales

Open Letter: French politicians should not ratify CETA, July 15, 2019