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CETA ruling may show that ISDS is legal, but it is still not acceptable

Ottawa – Today, after a request from the Belgian government, the European Court of Justice ruled that the investor court system (ICS) in the Canada-European Union Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) was compatible with European Union law. In response, the Council of Canadians is reminding the public that the debate is far from over and is urging the Canadian government to pull the plug on the ICS system in CETA.

“Just because something is legal, does not make it acceptable,” said Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “In the new NAFTA, Canada accepted the elimination of ISDS. This showed that it had the courage to bail on a failed system that gives corporations powers to attack sound public policy that protects people and the environment. Canada should pull the plug on ICS in CETA, as well.”

The investor court system is a provision that allows corporations to sue states over their changes to policy and regulations when they affect investments.

In order for the ICS to be in effect, 38 European member states and regional governments have to ratify and approve the agreement. Only 12 of the 28 member states have completed ratification.

“This debate is far from over,” said Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “This is an opportunity for Canada to do right. If getting rid of ISDS is good enough for the Americans, it is certainly good enough for Europeans, as well.”

Recently, 550,000 Europeans signed a petition saying that ISDS was not compatible with democracy.