At a summit between Canada and the European Union in October 2008, a group of corporations gave government officials a “wish list” — things they wanted to see in CETA, The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement. This set the official bargaining agenda for the CETA trade talks. CETA is different than other deals. Things we don’t normally think of as trade items are the bulk of the deal. Canada’s public infrastructure — water, health care, and municipal services — will be bargained in part or whole with corporations if CETA is not stopped. Cultural entities such as our Canadian Public Broadcasting system and Canada Post are also at risk. Why has CETA been withheld from the press? Canadians have a right to know about the contents of this far-reaching contract.
Trade with Europe would be a good idea if it meant more good jobs and better social services. But like all “free trade” agreements, the CETA is not about that. It’s about boosting corporate rights, lowering environmental standards, and weakening public services.