Despite the best efforts of the ever-secretive Harper cabal, details about the CETA deal are finally emerging thanks to leaked portions
of the text. And has been long-predicted, those details are not encouraging when it comes to Canadian sovereignty in general, and local sourcing of construction contracts, goods and services in particular.
While government websites
, replete with encomiums from business entities, crow about what this deal will accomplish, more critical sources offer much to suggest the need for grave misgivings.
Take, for example, the matter of investor rights. Chapter 11, the investor-dispute mechanism under NAFTA, has resulted in numerous suits
against the government from companies claiming loss of earnings due to legislation or judicial rulings. One such case involved Eli Lily suing Canada
for $500 million
over patent rights to two of its drugs. Another involved Lone Pine Resources is suing the federal government for $250 million
due to Quebec’s moratorium on oil and gas fracking beneath the St. Lawrence River.
Yet the Harper government, in its apparent zeal to cede even more authority to multinational corporations, seems undaunted by these and many other ongoing suits.
With apparently almost identical provisions under CETA, perhaps the direness of the situation is best summed up
by Scott Sinclair of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:"The outcome of the deal is that corporations win and citizens on both sides of the Atlantic lose."
Equally disturbing is the provision about procurement rights:The main benefit for Europe is easy to name: Canada opens its public procurements to European corporations. European companies are much stronger when it comes to public tenders because there aren't as many Canadian companies willing to bid in European public procurements.
Today's Star offers more details
of the public procurement provisions, and gives this bleak assessment:The ability of provincial governments and cities like Toronto to boost their economies by favouring local companies on major goods and services contracts will be sharply curtailed under the terms of Canada’s free-trade pact with Europe, leaked details of the agreement confirm.
Specifically, provincial agencies and ministries will have to open up bidding to businesses from EU countries on goods and services contracts worth approximately $300,000 or more.
The threshold is higher for construction contracts: about $7.9 million
Essentially, the same rules will apply to school boards, [p]ublic agencies or utilities that operate airports, rail or bus transport, marine ports, electricity distribution, drinking water provision or the production of gas and heat
Once more, Canadian citizens must sit on the sidelines in government-imposed ignorance, thanks in large part to the most secretive government that has ever existed in Canada, Tony Clement's recent hilarious declarations
about government transparency notwithstanding.
While it is highly unlikely the CETA deal will be finalized before the next election, given the millimeters of difference that exist between the major parties on most issues, holding an unsanctioned 'faint-hope' clause in our collective psyche may be all we can realistically aspire to.