Today, Canada’s Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland conceded defeat in her efforts to convince the Belgian province of Wallonia drop its opposition to the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Without Wallonian support, Belgium cannot sign the deal. CETA cannot be ratified unless all 28 European Union (EU) member states agree. While EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström expressed hope that the deal could be salvaged, it is clear that the scheduled October 27 ratification will not take place. The National Farmers Union (NFU) commends Wallonian Minister-President Paul Magnette for resisting the intense pressure to change his position.
“We are with Magnette and the people on both sides of the Atlantic who understand that CETA is not really about trade, but about power—the power of multinational corporations to shape economies in their own interests at the expense of grassroots people,” said NFU President Jan Slomp. “Remember, Canada has traded with Europe for our whole history — we do not need CETA for trade.”
“CETA was negotiated behind closed doors and our government embraced it without exposing its details to a proper democratic debate. The more people learn about it, the less they like it,” said Slomp. “In Europe, where the public debate has rapidly become more open and better informed than in Canada, people are protesting CETA in the streets in the tens of thousands. Here in Canada organizations like the NFU are studying the text, analysing its implications and raising the alarm. We urge Minister Freeland to heed informed Canadians’ legitimate concerns about this deal.”
“Wallonia’s refusal to support CETA is based on conclusions very similar to our own: that it is simply unacceptable to give multinational corporations the power to sue governments for acting in the public interest,” noted Terry Boehm, Chair of the NFU Seed and Trade Committee. “CETA, like the TPP and other recent trade agreements, is a fundamental attack on democracy and the ability of governments to govern in the interests of their citizens.”
“Today is a great day for the people of Canada and Europe thanks to the courage and determination of Minister-President Paul Magnette and the Walloon people,” said Boehm.
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For more information:
Jan Slomp, NFU President: (403) 704-4364 or (250) 898-8223
Terry Boehm, Chair, NFU Seed and Trade Committee: (306) 255-2880 or (306) 255-7638
National Farmers Union Analysis of CETA