Brussels – We just met with Catherine Bearder, a British MEP with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (which has 85 seats in the European Parliament), who raised questions this past April about CETA and the Canadian tar sands.

On April 19, 2010, Ms. Bearder posed these two questions to the European Commission:

1. “How does the Commission propose that trade relations between the EU and Canada should in no way promote or facilitate the development of this highly polluting industry?”
2. “Can the Commission confirm that the EU-Canada FTA will cover trade in this type of oil and how does the Commission justify this in the light of EU environmental priorities?”

She will be e-mailing us the EC’s responses to her questions and we will continue to pursue this to the fullest extent possible.

Ms. Bearder noted to us that MEPs have already been lobbied in Strasbourg (the alternate location of the European Parliament) on the benefits of the tar sands, presumably by industry and the Alberta government.

Additionally, the Canadian Press reported in May that the European Parliament passed a resolution expressing concern about the tar sands.

“(The resolution) takes a poke at Alberta’s oil sands, expressing ‘its concern about the impact of the extraction of oil sand on the global environment due to the high level of CO2 emissions during its production process and the threat it poses for local biodiversity and the rights and health of indigenous peoples.'”

The European Parliament is the 736-member directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union. While the EP cannot initiate legislation, it can reject legislation – including the Canada-EU CETA. The EP can also pass non-binding, but nevertheless significant, resolutions.

An earlier campaign blog on this can be read at

Brent Patterson, Director of Campaigns and Communications, Council of Canadians


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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...