If you think NAFTA is bad, just wait until you see what is being proposed in negotiations for The Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). CETA is a far-reaching trade deal that could touch on nearly every aspect of Canadian society.
The CETA aims to remove government regulations over such things as public purchasing, environmental standards, public services, domestic-content rules and so on.
With the CETA, a trade agreement would for the first time apply directly to Provinces, and cities,crown corporations, school boards, and hospitals,binding them to it's provisions in some extremely dangerous ways. For instance CETA would contain a section similar to NAFTA's chapter 11,exposing them to potentially bankrupting lawsuits for making policy decisions that benefit their constituents but may harm the profitability of some EU corporation.
Another proposal on the table is a provision that says anything not listed as exempt from the free trade agreement would be automatically covered. Which means that if a city or province fails to list any of the thousands of programs they deliver,that program is covered by the deal and open to privatisation.
The CETA would prohibit governments at all levels from spending tax dollars to encourage local development. Bids would have to be open to EU companies with the cost of the bid the only consideration allowed.
The EU is demanding access to our Crown corporations, such as electric and water utilities. Big Pharma is at the table demanding extended patent rights which will lead to massive increases in the cost of drugs, placing enormous strain on our healthcare budgets, potentially further increasing the threat of privatisation. Pharma isn't the only industry at the table,in fact big business are the only ones being consulted and briefed on CETA by the Harper government.
Of course we are told that this abomination will lead to increased employment and standards of living for all Canadians,which is exactly what they said about NAFTA and we all know how that turned out. Studies to the contrary suggest that a free trade deal with the EU would cost us somewhere between 28,000 and 150,000 jobs.
This video offers an introductory glimpse into the CETA and what's at stake for us if this deal is signed.