The Council of Canadians will be in Europe next week to challenge efforts by the Harper government to finalize the Canada-EU free trade agreement.

CBC has reported, “European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht (has) announced that ministerial talks between himself and (Canada’s trade minister Ed) Fast would be held ‘towards’ Nov. 20 to try to ‘close the deal’. …(Fast’s) office confirmed that he will head for Brussels next week to join negotiators already there… Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz’s office confirmed that he too will be at the ministerial talks in Brussels next week. …Europe’s delegation in Ottawa did confirm that the ministerial talks are set for next Thursday, Nov. 22.”

Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew will join Trade Justice Network activist Blair Redlin in Brussels and Strasbourg next week to challenge these meetings, meet with European civil society allies and Members of the European Parliament, and to raise opposition voices in media coverage of this story.

Challenging Harper’s PR blitz in Canada
CBC has also reported, “Despite a reluctance to discuss details of the late-stage talks, the Harper government has scheduled a series of photo opportunities across Canada this week to tout the benefits of a potential deal. A gaggle of ministers, including Fast himself, has been out doing a series of cross-Canada photo ops and orchestrated sector-by-sector promotional events to sing the benefits for uniquely Canadian products.”

This morning, Council of Canadians activists – including Board member John Cartwright, executive director Garry Neil, Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara, and Toronto chapter activist Michael Brothers – will be at a rally outside the Tilley factory in Toronto where Lisa Raitt, Harper’s minister of labour, will be speaking in support of CETA.

We will also be outside the Delta Prince Edward Hotel this morning in Charlottetown where Gail Shea, Harper’s minister of national revenue, will be promoting CETA alongside key representatives of the potato industry. Yesterday, Council of Canadians vice-chair Leo Broderick, Canadian Labour Congress Atlantic regional representative Tony Tracy, PEI Health Coalition activist Mary Boyd, and CUPE regional vice-president for PEI Lori MacKay challenged CETA at a media conference in advance of Harper’s public relations blit. That was covered in the Guardian at,-says-coalition-of-concerned-groups/1.

More on our campaign against CETA at

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Brent Patterson

Brent Patterson is a political activist, writer and the executive director of Peace Brigades International-Canada. He lives in Ottawa on the traditional, unceded and unsurrendered territories of the Algonquin...