I’m going to keep this brief.
I just returned from hearing Burnaby-New Westminster MP, Peter Julian, speak about the proposed Canada-European Union Trade Agreement. I must say, I’m disappointed, once again, with our current federal government. This is an attempt to sell our country, as have been previous attempts like the proposed SPP, MAI, FTAA, and other such ‘free trade’ agreements. (The current agreement, NAFTA, has one redeeming feature about it: should Canada – or any other participating country – decide to leave the agreement, they could give six months notice and be out. Other proposed agreements have included clauses that would, for example, lock us in to an agreement for years, even a decade or longer. …allowing corporations access to Canada’s resources even beyond what Canada might be able to provide, and then legal battles could ensue.)
What bothers me about “CETA” are things like removing the option for municipalities to have only local produce sold at a municipal building (a community rec centre, for example), and putting the Canadian Wheat Board on the chopping block when, in fact, it works in Canadian farmers’ interests and they have worked to keep it going.
This bothers me because we’re allowing a corporate agenda to get in to our country, and once it’s in, policies become entrenched and difficult to reverse (without expensive legal battles that could bankrupt our nation in the process).
We need to keep Canada Canadian. I’m not saying that we need to be rigidly nationalistic. What I mean is that our country has certain elements of its identity that are key, and we need to work – even fight – to keep them. …like public education and health care. …like care for environment – including water resources, and wildlife, and parks and nature.
With what I’ve heard of the outgoing-dictator-president of Egypt, Mubarak, and his billions, I think we might do well to question the motives of those who are not explicitly working to maintain public programs and services for the people. Even in a democracy like Canada’s, we must work to maintain accessible services for all.
(Okay – I said I’d be brief. I’m stopping there. Please, PLEASE ask questions about policies and legislation that seem to lack transparency and seem to further corporate agendas instead of care for people and environment. How? Contact your MP! Be pro-active!)