Here are two more CETA myths being perpetuated by the Harper regime, according to the Council of Canadians, that we should be aware of:
HARPER SAYS: Free trade deals like CETA do not prevent governments from regulating standards that protect the public, including in the areas of the environment, labour, health care and safety.
WE SAY: CETA and free trade deals like it are designed specifically to limit opportunities for governments to introduce new rules and regulations that have an impact on trade and investment flows, even if the intention of the rules was to protect the environment or public health. The United States has just lost three World Trade Organization disputes involving meat labelling, a ban on flavoured cigarettes to discourage smoking among children, and voluntary measures designed to protect dolphins from tuna fishing. CETA and other trade deals include language on avoiding new regulation as the best and least trade-distorting option. CETA will provide Canada and the EU with tools to frustrate or delay the introduction of new standards. It will give corporations the right to sue governments in the event that regulations interfere with their profits.
HARPER SAYS: Canada’s FTAs do not force governments to privatize, contract out or deregulate water-related services.
WE SAY: European member states are so concerned about how CETA might affect their ability to deliver public water services that they have proposed to exclude drinking water from their side of the bargain. With only one exception in Yukon, federal government, provinces and territories have not asked for the same protection for water services, which leaves Canada’s public water systems vulnerable to claims by the EU or its large private water companies that their investment opportunities are being undermined either by local water monopolies, or, where there is already some level of privatization, by new water use or other standards.
Free trade? Everything about the CETA deal carries a very heavy cost.