CETA: Secrecy around trade agreement contents doesn’t sit we

CETA: Secrecy around trade agreement contents doesn’t sit we

Postby Oscar » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:52 am

Secrecy around trade agreement contents doesn’t sit well

[ http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/20 ... nt-si.html ]

By Rosalind Waters ~ GUEST OPINION Published on March 2, 2017

Atlantic premiers plan to save money through bulk pharmaceutical purchases.

The media frenzy last week about the plan discussed by Atlantic premiers to save us all money by bulk purchasing of drugs has been hard to ignore.

Nova Scotia’s minister of Health announced, “There are great savings to be had and ultimately what we all want is benefits to our citizens.”

P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan apparently agreed that cost containment in the health care system was a priority.

If lower drug costs have such a positive impact on Atlantic Canadians, why has no one ever come clean and told Islanders that, as a result of the provisional application of parts of the CETA (the trade agreement with the European Union), drug costs for Islanders will eventually increase by an estimated $3.6 million annually?

Why has our government insisted on a narrative that would have us believe CETA is only about tariff reductions? Before CETA was negotiated 60 per cent of Canadian goods exported to Europe were already tariff-free, and the average tariff was only 2.2 per cent. We had very free trade with the EU to start with.

Why have we never been told about the multitude of investor-friendly rules which affect “buy local” and local economic development policies, public services such as home care and pharmacare, public transit, the Lands Protection Act and policies allowing us to ensure that a certain amount of seafood and fish are landed and processed on P.E.I.?

Why has there been silence about intellectual property rights granted to pharmaceutical companies that will increase our drug costs?

There has not been one public meeting, not one meeting with community groups, not one information session for community members.

It is hard to ignore the contrast between the communications hype around the bulk purchasing plan and the purposeful shroud of secrecy over a trade agreement that will counteract the benefits to be had from bulk purchasing.

Premier Wade MacLauchlan should watch his step. He withholds information and suppresses debate of public policies forced on us through the back door by trade agreements at his own peril.

Justin Trudeau promised public consultations on CETA during the federal election, then reversed his position after becoming prime minister. This may come to haunt him too.

World events are showing how disaffection is on the rise with political elites who insist on ploughing forward with policies that benefit the ultra-wealthy while sidelining citizens.
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Rosalind Waters is a resident of Georgetown Royalty.
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