Oct 17, 2011

BC communities sound alarm on CETA

BURNABY—B.C. communities are joining the growing opposition to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Several have recently passed resolutions demanding that provincial and territorial governments negotiate a clear, permanent exemption for local governments from the trade deal.

The following B.C. communities have already raised concerns about or passed resolutions against CETA: Burnaby, Chilliwack School District, District of Kent, Grand Forks, Lillooet, Logan Lake, North Vancouver and Trail.

CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill said the proposed trade deal “undermines the core values of what British Columbians call community.” 

“CETA has far-reaching implications for municipalities,” said CUPE national president Paul Moist. “As well as opening the door for the privatization of water, CETA threatens local procurement and democracy by putting corporate rights above public rights.”

O’Neill joined Moist and Council of Canadians chair Maude Barlow in town hall meetings on CETA in B.C. last week. Town halls were held to standing room only crowds in Abbotsford, Vancouver and Victoria.

The next set of CETA negotiations with the European Union is being held in Ottawa this week. CUPE has produced a 30-second video on the perils of CETA available at:  Please distribute widely.

CETA could force municipalities to privatize water services to the lowest bidder. While these trade talks are being held, CUPE members in Abbotsford are mobilizing against attempts to privatize drinking water delivery there for the next 30 years. 

The Union of B.C. Municipalities recently passed a resolution by the District of Kent “to remove water services from any commitments under the proposed Canada-EU CETA.” The motion, states “the inclusion of water services in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement would undermine the public control and accountability of these vital assets.”

COPE 491