From the Council of Canadians press release, January 24, 2011
The Council of Canadians travelled to Brussels, Belgium and Strasbourg, France last week to raise awareness about the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and the threats it poses to public water, social services and democracy.
Canadians have had no say on what the proposed deal should look like – or whether we should be negotiating at all. Leaked copies of the negotiating text and public statements about the deal make it clear that CETA offers little to Canadians while posing far too many unnecessary risks.
While in Brussels, the Council of Canadians joined other concerned organizations and union representatives as part of a Trade Justice Network delegation to encourage Members of the European Parliament to put the CETA negotiations on ice to allow for the negotiating mandate to be debated publicly in Canada and the EU.
During the week, the Council’s Director of Campaigns and Communications Brent Patterson and Trade Justice Campaigner Stuart Trew met with European civil society groups and parliamentarians to share a legal opinion on the impact CETA will have on tar sands development, as well as environmental policy more generally, and a new report on how the agreement could lead to more privatization of Canadian and EU public water systems. The report, titled Keep Europe Out of the Tar Sands!, Speaks to the massive environmental devastation in Canada caused by the tar sands and how CETA could be used to overrule positive measures aimed at restricting dirty fuels in Europe such as the fuel derived from the tar sands.
While in Brussels, Council representatives took part in a protest outside the European Commission, which was organized by the UK Tar Sands Network with participation from The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and Friends of the Earth Europe. The protest garnered national media attention in Canada, helping to raise awareness about the public’s growing concerns with the deal.