DANGER!!! Canadian-European Trade Negotiations
The Harper government is negotiating a trade deal with the European Union. The first formal negotiations took place in October 2009, and a rapid-fire process is aiming at an agreement within 2 years. The deal is called the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and the scope is truly comprehensive.
This trade deal would open public services across Canada to private for-profit companies – including health, education, social services, water, post and transportation. The agreement would prevent federal, provincial and municipal governments from favouring non-profit, or local, or green enterprises. In agriculture, it threatens Canadian farmers with the loss of the Wheat Board, and would eliminate protections against genetically modified food. It would open our telecommunications and broadcasting industries to foreign control and drastically change our copyright laws. It would provide even longer patent protection for pharmaceutical companies, increasing the cost of prescription drugs. Under NAFTA, anything negotiated with Europe would also apply to the US and Mexico.
The document under discussion has not been released, consultations with non-business groups is extremely limited, and Canadian trade negotiators are evasive in response to questions and letters.
What’s particularly at risk for CEP members:
Canadian ownership of telecommunications and broadcasting
The Europeans are unlikely to conclude a deal without increased access to our telecommunications and broadcasting industries, which means giving up our legal protection of Canadian ownership and control. CEP strongly opposes passing control of our essential telecommunications industry to foreign interests. For more information click here.
European negotiators also want more access to our broadcasting industry. Again, CEP has insisted that our cultural industries remain in Canadian hands, the best way to ensure that we can continue to tell our own stories, listen to our music and give our point of view on the world.
The discussions on CETA include extending the term and scope of copyright protection and criminalizing copyright infringement, even for non-commercial uses. This would dramatically reshape Canadian copyright law and policy, undermining our “fair use” approach.
CEP has joined with over 50 organizations to fight this trade deal. We have signed on to a joint declaration on the dangers of the agreement and a letter to the Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast.