Ultimately, the critical thinker has an obligation to educate him/herself. To simply accept government 'assurances' that all is well is to surrender the responsibilities inherent in being a citizen in a democracy.
HARPER SAYS: CETA and free trade deals do not allow foreign investors and foreign companies to challenge Canadian laws and regulations.
WE SAY: NAFTA’s chapter 11 protections for foreign investors have allowed corporations to challenge dozens of Canadian laws and regulations simply because they interfere with profits. Canada is the sixth most sued country under the investor-state dispute settlement regime, which exists in around 3,000 bilateral investment treaties globally. Those corporate lawsuits have attacked environmental assessments, the failure to get approval for unpopular or environmentally dangerous quarries and dumpsites, measures to reduce the use of pesticides, research and development payments from offshore oil and gas production, the way hunting and fishing licences are distributed, and local content quotas in Ontario’s Green Energy Act. Canada has had to pay out or is on the hook for over $200 million in settlements or losses to investors under these extreme investor rights which countries such as Australia are now avoiding in their trade deals.
HARPER SAYS: CETA has been the most open and transparent trade negotiation in Canadian history.
WE SAY: So why did it take the government three years to try to explain the agreement to the public? The fact that the provinces are negotiating a trade deal for the first time says nothing about transparency since the provinces are being even more tight-lipped than the Harper government. There have been and will not be any opportunities to see or modify CETA before it is signed, perhaps as early as this winter. Once it is signed, the Harper government will block attempts to modify it in parliament. This is the antithesis of transparency. If CETA and agreements like it are supposed to be 21st century or “next-generation” free trade deals, they should be negotiated in 21st century ways — openly, transparently, and with broad public input.