Canada’s Official Opposition is demanding Parliament’s Standing Committee on Health examine the impact of the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement on Canada’s health care. Citing concerns over the EU’s request to extend patents- which will result in a $2.8 billion increase in drugs for Canadians- and on issues of privatization which may be extended under CETA, the MPS motion will be tabled this afternoon.
The Council of Canadians has worked extensively to protect Canada’s public health care. In 2004, we joined calls with the Canadian Health Coalition and pro-public health care allies to keep health care out of trade agreements. In 2002, Roy Romanow called for health care to have a cultural exemption in trade agreements so as to ensure that it is protected. Once health care services are privatized, Canada must give equal opportunities to American service providers to deliver health care under the NAFTA agreement. Parliament is once again putting Canadian health care at risk by leaving it on the negotiation table.
There has not been a study conducted on the impact of CETA. The Harper Government continues to negotiate the trade agreement behind closed doors without any communication with Canadians. The press release states that: “New Democrats are urging the Conservative members of the committee to agree to this study so Canadians can understand how this agreement will impact them and their health, before the agreement is signed.”
The Council of Canadians applauds the motion and demands that the federal government hold open and transparent discussions with Canadians on the impact of CETA. We have made several calls to see the provincial offers that were presented to the EU.
To read the NDP’s press release, please go here.
For more information on how CETA could affect prescription drug costs, please go here.