NUPGE's Larry Brown spoke to a rally of 250,000 Europeans who were protesting the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the U.S. and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
Berlin (14 Oct. 2015) — Organizers estimate that more than 250,000 people marched in Berlin on Saturday to oppose two proposed free trade deals— the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the U.S. and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada.
Speakers highlighted the anti-democratic nature of the negotiations and the impact that the agreements will have on domestic issues. Larry Brown, National Secretary-Treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), addressed Canadian concerns with CETA.
Canadian experience of trade deals
Brown had been invited to speak on the Canadian experience of trade deals and on CETA.
"We have too much experience with trade deals; we have lived with NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). We know that the promises of a brighter future are lies," Brown told the crowd.
"We have lost 650,000 manufacturing jobs under NAFTA. The US has lost over a million manufacturing jobs. Wages in Mexico went down. U.S. and Canadian wages have stagnated."
Brown also highlighted the anti-democratic and pro-corporate nature of the deals.
"These agreements are not really trade deals, they are corporate bills of rights — full of rules that prevent governments from controlling multinational corporations. They contain not a single new power for government. All they contain is new rights for corporations."
Resistance to trade deals high in Europe
The size of the rally demonstrated that resistance to the trade deals is high in Europe and, in particular, Germany. Indeed, the level of resistance in Germany has reportedly surprised Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government and shown the challenge it faces to win public support for the agreements.
Meanwhile, opposition continues to grow in Germany and other European countries, with critics arguing that the deals give too much power to multinational companies at the expense of consumers and workers.
While Canada's current federal government portrays CETA as a done deal, events in Europe may well prove them wrong.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE