I want to thank Nelson city councillor Candace Batycki for bringing the proposed Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) which is being negotiated between Canada and the European Union into the public conversation.
The main problem with this agreement is that it is being negotiated behind closed doors without any parliamentary or public debate. At least with NAFTA the public knew what was on the table and subsequently were able to voice their opposition. However, the CETA is shrouded in secrecy and most Canadians are not aware of the consequences to them should this agreement be ratified.
The first question to ask about the process is why all the secrecy surrounding this agreement which will profoundly affect the lives of Canadians as to the price of pharmaceuticals, the loss of public services such as health care and education, and the erosion of the democratic process which we value so much in this country.
The second question to ask is why Canada is prepared to open up all of its public services, environmental regulations and local procurement to negotiation when the European Union itself refuses to make the same concessions.
Be aware that the operative word in this agreement is “free” as opposed to “fair” trade. I urge all Canadians to educate themselves on this agreement and its far-reaching implications by going to canadians.org. Then decide whether or not this agreement will be good for Nelson.