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Trudeau takes a page from Harper playbook, avoids debate on CETA bill

Ottawa – C-30, the bill to implement the Canada-Europe Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), goes to the House of Commons for second reading today. The Council of Canadians accuses the Trudeau government of trying to rush the bill through Parliament before the holidays with input from only a select group of invited witnesses.

“We were promised sunny ways. But the government is taking a page from former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s playbook and avoiding debate,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “CETA would increase drug prices and have devastating effects on public services, water, farmers, fishers, municipalities and our democracy. With the additional impact of Brexit and the Belgian compromises, our government needs to take the time to thoroughly examine the details.”

The patent extension terms in the legislation would immediately raise drug prices by $1.65 billion annually, according to experts at York University. While European governments could individually opt out of the deal during Europe’s 28-country parliamentary ratification, Canada would be stuck with it.

In 2012, the Liberals championed transparency in the Committee on International Trade, asking the Harper government to commit to touring the country to hear opinions, to clearly indicate both costs and benefits of the deal, and to table analysis on pharmaceuticals, supply management, and investor-state dispute settlement. The Trudeau government has yet to follow through on its own requests.

“Europeans are having a closer look at CETA. We think this government, with its commitments to transparency, should as well,” says Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “It is the smart thing as well as the right thing to do.”


Photo by Adam Scotti via Flickr. CC by-nc-sa 2.0