CETA agreement poses threat to municipal governments

The Williams Lake Chapter of the Council of Canadians concerns itself with issues important to all Canadians.

Editor:

The Williams Lake Chapter of the Council of Canadians concerns itself with issues important to all Canadians. They assist in the campaign to uncover the damage to the democratic process by the robo-calls in the last federal election. They help with information campaigns about pipelines. They advocate for improved health care. The Chapter is active examining mining injustices.

They work to find out about secret free trade agreements by the federal government. Perhaps the most important one for many members is the concern about water security for all Canadians. Fracking is a process which is accused of abusing water resources that belong to every British Columbian.

The Williams Lake Chapter wrote a letter to the premier of B.C. expressing concerns about hydraulic fracturing and the vast amount of our water resource used in the process.

Clark responded indicating she shared the concern and said she would refer the letter to four of her ministers.

At the same time, the Chapter wrote a letter to the mayor and council of Williams Lake about the Chapter’s concerns with CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union). The Chapter is convinced that this secret agreement, which has never been debated in the House of Commons, poses a serious threat to municipal governments. It has since been followed by another dangerous deal with China.

Stuart Trew of the Council of Canadians said: “Resistance to CETA has been strongest in the areas of municipal procurement, pharmaceutical policy reforms, copyright, and proposals to include an investor-to-state dispute settlement process similar to the one that currently exists in NAFTA.

These extreme investor rights have already cost us $157 million in penalties or settlements with U.S. investors, the largest being the $130 million settlement in 2010 with AbitibiBowater.

The company didn’t think it was fair that the Newfoundland government would take back the water and timber rights — which rightfully belonged to the province — and launched a claim against the Canadian government.

To date, more than 50 municipal governments, school boards and associations have passed resolutions about CETA, most of them asking to be excluded from procurement rules in the deal that will reduce economic policy options for local governments, to the benefit of large multinational firms.”

Mayor and council have not responded to our letter. City staff have not acknowledged receipt of the letter.

John Dressler

Williams Lake Chapter

Council of Canadians