URGENT:  Trade Negotiations Events:  April 19 – Ottawa, 20 – Montreal, 21 – Toronto

QUOTE:  “. . . it would virtually eliminate the rights of farmers to save, reuse and sell seed, providing biotech, pharmaceutical, pesticide, seed and grain companies powerful new tools to essentially decide who should farm and how.”

From: Lucy Sharratt – CBAN Coordinator <coordinator@cban.ca>
Date: April 19, 2010 8:22:03 AM PDT
To: cban-e-news@cban.ca
Subject: [cban e-News] Tonight, Tues, Wed: Trade deal to eliminate right to save seeds? Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto events

Canada-Europe Trade Agreement could virtually eliminate the right to save seed! Trade negotiations start today in Ottawa. Event Notice and Press Release below.

Tonight in Ottawa, Terry Boehm, President of the National Farmers Union will present on the threat posed by the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement to the right of farmers to save seed.

Ottawa – Monday, April 19, 7:00-9:00 pm
Saint Paul’s University Amphitheatre, 223 Main Street, Ottawa

Montréal – Le mardi 20 avril à 19 h
Pavillon Athanase-David de l’UQAM, local D-R200
1430, rue Saint-Denis, (angle Maisonneuve, métro Berri-UQAM)

Toronto – Wednesday, April 21, 7:00-9:00 pm
International Student Centre (Pendarvis Room), University of Toronto, 33 St. George Street (just north of College)

Food sovereignty, public services, climate justice… All are under threat from a new free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. Haven’t heard of it? That’s because even though negotiations are halfway finished, the public is being kept in the dark.

Join us to hear three prominent European social justice activists speak about Europe’s international trade agenda and raise questions about a free trade and investment agreement with Canada.

Featuring video and skype presentations (Transatlantic flights delayed) from:
Gérard Choplin, Via Campesina European Coordination, Belgium
Rolv Hanssen, Public Services International, Norway
Frédéric Viale, Attac-France, author of L’horreur européenne, France

This is the biggest, most intrusive free trade agreement Canada has ever considered. It could be nastier than NAFTA or the WTO. Negotiators are in Ottawa April 19 to 23 for what has been called the most important round of the free trade talks. They’re finalizing new rules that could affect culture, public services, environmental protection, economic development, water, health care, broadcasting policy, farmers and much more.

Presented by the Trade Justice Network. For more information: info@tradejustice.ca
The Trade Justice Network is comprised of a number of environmental and civil society organizations as well as trade unions
– that have come together to challenge the scope and process of the Canada European Union free trade negotiations,
– and to highlight the need for a more sustainable, equitable and socially just international trade regime. 

MEDIA RELEASE – For Immediate Release
April 19, 2010
Trade Justice Network releases secret draft of Canada-European Union free trade agreement, makes demands of Canadian and European governments

Ottawa, April 19 – As the third round of Canada-European Union free trade negotiations commence the newly formed Trade Justice Network today publicly released the draft text of the proposed Canada-European Union Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) – the most significant bilateral trade negotiation since the NAFTA. 

The network is raising serious concerns about the agreement’s potential impact on public and environmental policy, and public services in both Canada and Europe, among other issues, and has outlined a set of demands that must be met before negotiations are allowed to continue.
Controversial provisions in the draft text would:
– open Canada’s telecommunications sector to full foreign ownership,
– stop municipal governments from implementing local or ethical procurement strategies,
-and require a burdensome necessity test for prudential financial measures designed to help governments mitigate or avoid banking and financial crises.

The text also presents a direct attack on Ontario’s Green Energy Act, and it would virtually eliminate the rights of farmers to save, reuse and sell seed, providing biotech, pharmaceutical, pesticide, seed and grain companies powerful new tools to essentially decide who should farm and how.

Canadian negotiators have also included a controversial investor-state dispute mechanism like the one in NAFTA.  The Chapter 11 dispute process has allowed and encouraged large multinationals to sue North American governments for compensation against public health and environmental policies that limit corporate profits.

The Trade Justice Network has outlined a list of 11 demands that its members feel must be met in any trade deal with Europe.  These include: a comprehensive impact assessment of the deal on the economy, jobs, poverty, gender, human rights, farmers, culture and the environment; a fundamental protection for public services and expansion of social policy; a recognition of and protection for the right to use public procurement as an economic development tool, and of the right to regulate in the public interest based on the precautionary principle; a commitment to strengthen labour and environmental protections and make them as binding, if not more binding, than investor guarantees, and a recognition of the primacy of Indigenous Rights over corporate rights in Indigenous lands, territories and waters.

The Trade Justice Network will hold a series of public forums over the course of the week to further discuss the proposed trade deal while official negotiations are taking place in Ottawa.  Forums are scheduled to take place in Ottawa (April 19), Montreal (April 20) and Toronto (April 21).

For more information on the public forums (times and locations), or to learn more about the Trade Justice Network and read the civil society declaration on the CETA, visit: www.tradejustice.ca.

A full copy of the consolidated draft negotiating text has been posted on the Trade Justice Network website as well and is now available.
For more information: Stuart Trew, Council of Canadians    (647) 222-9782;
Angelo DiCaro, Canadian Auto Workers   (416) 606-6311.

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator 
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) 
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice 
431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor 
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 0R5 
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext.6
Fax: 613 241 2506 

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