President's Commentary: CETA - the game isn't over

CETA was passed with no evidence whatsoever of any benefit arising for the people of either the EU or Canada.  CETA is good because it is good, and it is good because it is good.  One can hear more sophisticated reasoning in almost any kindergarten class.

Ottawa (15 Feb. 2017) — The CETA Scorecard stands at Multinational Corporations 1, the People 0. But the game isn’t nearly over.

The multi-million dollar CEO’s who reside in Canada — multinational corporations which have no loyalty to any country — are probably celebrating this morning. The EU Parliament and the Canadian Parliament have delivered for them, big time. 

Both Parliaments have now passed CETA, the corporate trade deal that entrenches the rights of multinational corporations, while leaving the environment unprotected and leaving working people facing more job losses and wage stagnation.

CETA was passed with no evidence whatsoever of any benefit arising for the people of either the EU or Canada.  CETA is good because it is good, and it is good because it is good.  One can hear more sophisticated reasoning in almost any kindergarten class.

Let’s be clear — CETA is a good deal — for huge multinational corporations. Only for them. They can challenge national laws and parliaments, operate more freely without pesky laws and rules imposed by democratic governments.  They can hire fewer people and pay them less.

The rest of us can wrap ourselves in the warmth of dubious declarations that this is the best trade deal ever, in fact the most progressive trade deal ever!  

This kind of claim makes it clear that Donald Trump didn’t invent bombastic misrepresentations.

Speaking of Mr. Trump — did no one notice that he got elected because the old, worn out, discredited promises of the elites were no longer working?  Did no one notice that the false promise of prosperity and benefits for working people from trade deals, was being rejected because it was patently false?  Did no one stop to wonder how many times people can be misled about trade deals before they turn to equally false but more alluring promises that simple right-wing solutions will be a better option? 

The politicians that supported CETA may claim they are reacting against Trumpism, but by continuing to peddle false hope about the magical benefits of trade deals, they are in fact contributing to more Trump-like reactions from a disillusioned populace.

The celebrations of CETA are not only misguided.  They are very premature.

CETA now has to be ratified country by country in Europe.  In Belgium.  In France.  In Greece.  Every single EU country has to agree to it.  And this, while the agreement is being provisionally implemented, so the reality, and not the false rhetoric, will be more and more evident as time passes. 

If any CEO, or any Canadian politician, thinks that this national ratification will be a slam dunk, they are dreaming — and in technicolour. The CEO’s have scored first. But there are lots of innings left in this high-stakes game.  

Now the hard work starts, stopping CETA on the ground in Europe. We have lots of allies in that fight — and lots of fight left in our allies. CETA is still, definitely, not a done deal.

In solidarity, 

Larry Brown

Larry Brown,
NUPGE President
 

NUPGE

Larry Brown is the President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 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

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