Excessive Corporate Rights in Canada-EU Trade Deal Are Unacceptable to Broad Section of European, Canadian and Quebec Society

Excessive Corporate Rights in Canada-EU Trade Deal Are Unacceptable to Broad 
Section of European, Canadian and Quebec Society 
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM and OTTAWA, ONTARIO and MONTREAL, QUEBEC --
(Marketwire) -- 02/05/13 -- Labour, environmental, Indigenous,
women's, academic, health sector and fair trade organizations from
Europe, Canada and Quebec representing more than 65 million people
are demanding that Canada and the EU stop negotiating an excessive
and controversial investor rights chapter in the proposed
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The groups issued
a joint statement today ahead of a two-day meeting in Ottawa between
European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and Canadian International
Trade Minister Ed Fast, where the two hope to move the CETA
negotiations forward if not to conclude an agreement. 
"We will vigorously oppose any transatlantic agreement that
compromises our democracies, human and Indigenous rights, and our
right to protect our health and the planet," says the transatlantic
statement, endorsed by more than 70 organizations. "We urge the EU
and Canadian governments to follow the lead of the Australian
government by stopping the practice of including investor-state
dispute settlement in their trade and investment agreements, and to
open the door to a broad re-writing of trade and investment policy to
balance out corporate interests against the greater public interest." 
Investor-state dispute settlement is a process found in many Canadian
and European trade and investment agreements, including NAFTA and the
hundreds of bilateral investment treaties that EU members states have
signed with developing countries and with each other. The process
allows a firm in one country to sue the government of the other
country if the firm feels its investor rights have been violated. In
a very real sense, these investment rules create a parallel legal
system for multinational corporations and private investors, who are
using them increasingly to challenge environmental, public health and
other government policies, decisions, laws and measures that
interfere in some way with the "right" to make a profit.  
Recent high-profile cases include the $250-million NAFTA lawsuit
threatened by Lone Pine Resources against Quebec's ban on hydraulic
fracturing ("fracking"), a EUR3.7-billion claim by Swedish Energy
firm Vattenfall against Germany's decision to phase out nuclear
power, ExxonMobil and Murphy Oil's successful case against provincial
profit-sharing rules on offshore oil development, and U.S.-based
Renco Group's $800-million claim against a Peruvian requirement to
clean up the extreme pollution caused by its smelter in La Oroya.  
"Qualitative research suggests that the treaties are not a decisive
factor in whether investors go abroad... Based on a lack of economic
benefits, and evidence that investment treaties do pose risks to
environmental measures, a Sustainability Impact Assessment of CETA
urged the European Union not to include (investor-state dispute
settlement) in the agreement. Like the European Parliament, this
independent report for the European Commission suggested a
state-to-state dispute process is more appropriate in the EU-Canada
context," says the joint statement issued today by transatlantic
civil society groups. 
The Australian government decided in 2011 it would stop including
these rights and investor-state dispute settlement in its trade and
investment agreements. Many countries, including South Africa and
India, are rethinking their investment treaties because of the way
corporations and law firms have abused them to undermine democracy
and public policies globally. Several Latin American countries are
cancelling their investment treaties for the same reason. 
In 1998, European and Canadian opposition to investor-state dispute
settlement put an end to the planned Multilateral Investment
Agreement, which would have extended these extreme investor
protections to the entire OECD region. In the same spirit and in
light of the rebirth of this failed corporate project in the
Canada-EU trade deal, the European, Canadian and Quebec groups listed
below "demand that the EU and Canada cease negotiating investor
rights and an investor-state dispute settlement process into the
CETA." 
To read the full statement: http://tradejustice.ca  
Endorsed in Europe: 11.11.11 (Belgium), AITEC (France), ACV-CSC
(Belgium), Attac Austria (Austria), Attac-France (France), Attac
Liege (Belgium), ATTAC VLAANDEREN (Belgium), Both Ends (Netherlands),
Center for Research and Documentation Chile-Latin America (Germany),
CFTC, Confederation francaise des travailleurs chretiens (France),
CNCD - 11.11.11 (Belgium), Corporate Europe Observatory (Belgium),
Ecologistas en Acion (Spain), European Federation of Public Services
Unions (EPSU), European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Fairwatch
(Italy), Food & Water Europe, Foundation for a Free Information
Infrastructure (FFII - Germany), FTM-CGT (France), Global Social
Justice (Belgium), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC),
Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centre (Nigeria),
PowerShift (Germany), Stichting Vrijschrift (Netherlands), SOMO
(Netherlands), Transnational Institute (Netherlands), World Economy,
Ecology & Development (Germany), Zukunftskonvent (Germany) 
Endorsed in Canada: Canadian Association of University Teachers,
Canadian Auto Workers, Canadian Environmental Law Association,
Canadian Federation of Students (CFS-FCEE), Canadian Health
Coalition, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Canadian Union of Postal
Workers (CUPW), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Common
Frontiers, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
(CEP), Council of Canadians, Greenpeace Canada, Hupacasath First
Nation, National Farmers Union, National Union of Public and General
Employees, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, Polaris Institute,
Public Service Alliance of Canada, Registered Nurses' Association of
Ontario, Sierra Club Canada, (Tsalalh) Seton Lake Indian Band, Trade
Justice Network, United Steelworkers 
Endorsed in Quebec: Reseau quebecois sur l'integration continentale
(RQIC), Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la sante
et des services sociaux (APTS), Alternatives, Association canadienne
des avocats du mouvement syndical (ACAMS-CALL), Association
quebecoise des organismes de cooperation internationale (AQOCI),
Attac-Quebec, Centrale des Syndicats democratiques (CSD), Centrale
des Syndicats du Quebec (CSQ), Confederation des Syndicats nationaux
(CSN), Conseil central du Montreal metropolitain (CCMM-CSN), Eau
Secours!, Federation des femmes du Quebec (FFQ), Federation etudiante
collegiale du Quebec (FECQ), Federation etudiante universitaire du
Quebec (FEUQ), Federation interprofessionnelle de la sante du Quebec
(FIQ), Federation des travailleurs et travailleuses du Quebec (FTQ),
Ligue des droits et libertes, Mouvement d'education populaire et
d'action communautaire du Quebec (MEPACQ), Reseau quebecois des
groupes ecologistes (RQGE), Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique
section Quebec (SCFP-Quebec), Syndicat de professionnelles et
professionnels du gouvernement du Quebec (SPGQ), Union des
consommateurs
Contacts:
Bruno Ciccaglione
Seattle to Brussels network
bruno.ciccaglione@alice.it 
Pierre-Yves Serinet
Reseau quebecois sur l'integration continentale (RQIC)
+1 (514) 276-1075
rqic@ciso.qc.ca 
Stuart Trew
Trade Justice Network
+1 (647) 222-9782
TJN.RCJ@gmail.com
 
 
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