Saturday, October 29, 2016

Wallonia’s handling of CETA was more democratic than Canada’s



Here’s a good article explaining who is opposed to the dispute settlement mechanism in the EU-Canada free trade treaty, and why:


If the answer to an expression of democratic will is to seek to subvert it, European leaders clearly are yet to learn the lessons of Brexit and the Greek financial crisis.

Wallonia was far from alone in its opposition to Ceta; 2095 municipalities and local authorities (including Amsterdam, Cologne, Edinburgh, Grenoble, Barcelona, Milan and Vienna) declared their cities and counties Ceta - and TTIP-free zones.

More than 3.4 million European citizens signed petitions. National governments too, such as Germany, Austria, Poland and the Netherlands, shared many of Walloon's concerns about investor rights; but had not shared the same courage to block the deal.

Unlike many European parliaments, the Walloon parliament was also one of the few that took time to study the 1600 pages long treaty and analyse its possible impacts.
The parliament held extensive debates and expert hearings over 18 months, raising concerns over negative impacts on public services, agriculture, food standards, and the EU's precautionary principle.

Their biggest concern was that the treaty would grant foreign companies the right to sue governments at international arbitration tribunals for legislating in the public interest. As early as 2014, the Walloon parliament stated that "arbitration has to be taken out of Ceta, it cannot be reformed, it's a matter of principle, it has to be taken out".

Rather than listen to the Walloon parliament, and the millions expressing similar concerns across Europe, the European Commission responded by introducing minor procedural reforms to the 'investor-state dispute settlement mechanism' and rebranding it as the 'investment court system'.


Now think about the virtual lack of public discussion in Canada on this matter.

Which side is more in tune with modern democratic notions?

It’s time for Canada to become more progressive, and to handle trade treaties in an open, transparent and democratic way. Backroom deals with international companies and their lobbyists having access, while ordinary citizens are presented with settled deals, is contrary to our democratic rights, and should be stopped.


No comments :

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting; come again! Let us reason together ...

Random posts from my blog - please refresh page for more: