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Costs of CETA need attention

Costs of CETA need attention

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Published by: EU-Canada Partnership on Nov 08, 2013
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11/08/2013

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11/1/13 Costs of CETA need attentionwww.thestarphoenix.com/story_print.html?id=9111064&sponsor= 1/2
Costs of CETA need attention
 
BY DAVID HENRY, THE STARPHOENIX
 NOVEMBER 1, 2013
 
Henry is a resident of Aberdeen and a board member of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society. After Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Union President José Manuel Barroso on Oct. 18signed in principle the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, Harper told a news conference: "This is a big deal. Indeed it is the biggest deal our country has ever made.This is a historic win for Canada."Most media reported the likely economic benefits of CETA. For example, sale quotas for Canadianbeef farmers might increase in Europe by 50,000 tonnes per year. Pork producers might see their quotas rise to 80,000 tonnes from the current 6,000. Canadian car producers might increase their sales in Europe to 100,000 vehicles from about 10,000 today. Open markets might be provided for small companies to sell goods and services in Europe.What have not been discussed are the potential costs of CETA. Let's look at some likely costs andwho would pay the bill: As part of CETA, Canada ¦ ¦is expected to extend patent protection for brandname drugs. That would delay the introduction of cheaper generics by up to two years, costingpatients or their health plans an estimated $1 billion to $2 billion per year.CETA would encourage and lead to the privatization of Canada's water services. The Council of Canadians writes: "This deal will give French companies Suez and Veolia, the two biggest privatewater operators in the world, access to run our water services for profit ... Private water operatorscharge far higher rates than public operators and cut corners when it comes to source protection."CETA could prohibit provincial and municipal governments from preferentially purchasing local goodsand hiring local workers. According to the Trade Justice Network, "Canadian governments would losea powerful tool for spurring job creation and economic development."CETA is expected to contain an investor-state dispute settlement tribunal where corporations couldsue governments for lost profits. A similar mechanism is contained in NAFTA and has been usedmore than 30 times to challenge Canadian public policies outside the courts. This has resulted inmore than $160 million in settlements paid to U.S. corporations by Canadian taxpayers.CETA could encourage more privatization or public-private partnerships to operate publictransportation, energy utilities as well as health and social services throughout Canada. Manycommunities in Europe and elsewhere have pulled out of these deals and have found that it isextremely expensive to return these services to the public domain because each corporation must becompensated not only for its infrastructure and equipment but also for loss of projected profits.Who will pay these costs of CETA? It is clear that ultimately it will be Canadian taxpayers. The federalgovernment has negotiated CETA by curtailing the freedoms and responsibilities of provincial and

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