Further international corporate control of our lives is increasing now at an unprecedented rate. Public local access to our water, minerals, health care, school boards, buying local food and products, etc, are at risk right now with a deal Harper feds are drafting behind closed doors. Very few Members of Parliament even know the details.

Nothing is more important to Canadians than basic, public quality-of-life programs. That’s what makes us Canadian!  Sure, we can argue about specifics, what government should do for its citizens, and what elements of public programs might work better as privatized businesses, but CETA may well take that democratic process out of our hands entirely. And it’s hard to think of anything more important than quality-of-life programs for our families and children coming along next. Please know that time is running out. The Harper government will be meeting for the ninth (and possibly final) meeting with the European Union October 17 to the 21st.  The time to make this public discussion is now.

Find out more here: http://www.canadians.org/trade/issues/EU/index.html)

This deal is called CETA (Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement), a VERY detailed trade bill between Canada and the European Union — much bigger and more impactful than NAFTA. It is really a deal between our government and the corporations of Europe who would like to purchase what is now public in Canada. Everything in our public trust is being examined to be sold off — from our health care system, to water, to school boards. If followed through the way it is, some of these things will become private and many will be run by international corporations.

Close to $200 billion that Canadians spend annually on provincial and municipal programs, schools, hospitals, parks, security, water delivery and public services, is all up for grabs in this deal. If this sounds alarmist, well, sound the alarm! This is about quality of life issues, especially for our next generation. They could well inherit a Canada where they have to pay foreign businesses for everything from a hospital visit to even, perhaps, a glass of tap water.

Public programs are supported by our tax dollars — do you want an international corporation (which has no interest in Canadians other than making a profit from them) to control them instead of an elected government? Read on:

Further dangers of CETA is that it could prevent ‘buying local’ and further degrade Canadian farms. CETA will give biotech, pharmaceutical, pesticide, seed, and grain companies powerful new tools to force our farmers to buy gene-patented seeds at high prices. Worse, it will almost entirely eliminate the rights of farmers to save, reuse and sell seed!

Municipalities would be fined for not adhering to these new trade laws if they favour local businesses or impinge the flow of international purchasing. Bi-laws to protect social welfare, the environment and local economic growth would be overpowered by international trade law which is not bound by a country’s internal laws.

When the feds reveal this deal, they’ll say that free trade is good, but they are not telling the truth about which jobs will be created for who, and at what cost to the overall culture and local communities. Free trade at this scale with all the extensive provisions in this agreement is not good for Canadians and the civic rights we enjoy. All we have to do is look south to our U.S. neighbours and see the difficulty of day-to-day living when you don’t have valuable, publicly-supported, infrastructures such as basic universal health care for every citizen, or hear presidential candidates talking on the news about getting rid of federally funded elder benefits (Social Security, Medicare, etc).

Why have we not heard about CETA before? Everybody who finds out wants to know. That is a very good question to pose to our government. Good news: Some municipalities across Canada in Ontario, BC, Nova Scotia have passed resolutions to be exempt from the CETA agreement.

Listen to this youtube video (6 min) by Canada’s largest union CUPE to find out specifics about CETA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQPh_YSnkVI

More information can be found at the Council of Canadians website www.canadians.org and www.tradejustice.ca

You know how networks are, you share with some, they share with some and so on. Let’s make this one go viral! Share the word in whatever way you can, big or small. (You can email this post by clicking the email button just below.)

More info on CETA and a link to email your MP:

http://canadians.org/action/2011/democracy-CETA.html