On October 18, 2013, Prime Minister Harper announced that four-year-old negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union had concluded. CETA is a “next generation” free trade and investment pact that Canada and the EU have been negotiating since May 2009. But it is better understood as a corporate power grab. The Harper government clearly sees CETA as a way to further deregulate and privatize the Canadian economy while increasing corporate power and undermining Canadian and European efforts to address the climate crisis.
If signed, CETA could unfairly restrict how local governments spend money and ban “buy local” policies, add hundreds of millions of dollars to the price of drugs, create pressure to increase privatization of local water systems, transit and energy, and much more. The secret negotiating process, as well as the overall corporate agenda behind these next generation deals, are an affront to democracy on both sides of the Atlantic. CETA will eventually be signed and brought to Parliament for ratification, but it is essential that we have an opportunity to review, revise or even reject CETA before it gets to that point. Read more.