January will be a busy month for neoliberals. Canadian trade negotiators head to Brussels this week for a sixth round of Canada-EU free trade negotiations (January 17 to 21). Then CEOs and world leaders will cruise on over to Davos for skiing and pedicures at the World Economic Forum (January 26 to 30), which overlaps with a serious attempt to put the WTO back on track in Geneva. After a brief period of second-guessing the laissez-faire capitalism that precipitated the 2007/08 crash, developed and “emerging” economies have headed straight back to the Kool-Aid of trade liberalization. The Canadian government never stopped drinking, which is the only explanation why they’re in such a rush to sign CETA. We’re going to Brussels next week to try and slow things down a bit, maybe even stop the negotiations altogether for a sober second thought on their likely consequences for Canada and the EU.
You can follow what’s happening in Brussels in a few ways:
1. Keep checking our site. We’ll be updating the CETA section regularly with photos, media releases, blogs etc.
2. Follow us on Twitter. We’ll be tweeting from Europe using the @CouncilofCDNS, @CETAWatch and @StuJT feeds. There is also a feed for the Trade Justice Network @TJN_RCJ. Search #CETA to easily find updates on the negotiations.
3. Join the CETA Facebook group. We’re up to 840 members on the Challenge the Canada-European Union Free Trade Agreement group. There you can post your own information on CETA and engage other members in discussion.
You can also get active on CETA here in Canada:
1. Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper. Let’s make some noise about this thing – show Harper, the provinces, territories and our cities we want the negotiations stopped and a debate held immediately.
2. Sign and gather signatures on our petition. This petition is designed to be read in the House of Commons by our MPs. It’s also a good conversation starter about CETA. Get as many signatures from your friends, neighbours and colleagues then present it to your MP, no matter their political stripe. Your MP will read it in the House of Commons showing our politicians and the public that there is opposition to Harper’s trade agenda.
3. Don’t let CETA privatize our water. Get our new report on CETA and public water services to your local, provincial-territorial and federal elected official. Use the report as an opportunity to sit down with your municipal councillors in particular as they have the most to lose from including water services and water utilities in CETA.
CETA is a big deal but it’s not too big to put on hold with enough people demanding it. Trade agreements should work in the public interest. To make sure they do, we need to make those agreements public before they are signed. Good luck and talk to you again from Brussels.
Stuart Trew, Trade Campaigner, Council of Canadians