On Saturday just past, a group of like-minded people in my city sat down to write letters of support to Wallonia, the district of Belgium holding fast against the signing of the CETA Investor-State ‘trade’ deal. Here is my letter, in thanks for their principled and courageous stand for their rights, culture, economy and democracy.
Dear President-Minister, Paul Magnette:
I write to you in thanks and support for your principled stance against the CETA (AECG) deal. As a Canadian, I, among thousands, have been opposing CETA for many years. Particularly, we oppose the Investor-State, Investor-Court system written into this deal.
Canadians opposed to this deal know that it allows corporations and investors to sue us (in our case, from the federal level right down to the municipal) for perceived threats to their profits. Our government, like yours, has no recourse to sue investors who damage our economy, our public services, our industries and environment – among many other negative impacts of their focus solely on profit. We Canadians resist what is essentially a trade model for corporate/investor protectionism. Such protectionism would be condemned if demanded by a country. And yet, all countries need protection against this narrow focus on the advancement of corporate interests and intrusion of one nation’s power into another sovereign nation.
We know, and Canadian negotiator Chrystia Freeland knows, the dangers of granting such powers to investors, even with a so-called open-court tribunal, as is being written into an addendum to the CETA. Freeland has, prior to taking her position as Trade Minister, written against the dangerous power of plutocracies, in her book “Plutocrats: the Rise of the New Global Super-rich, and the Fall of Everyone Else” published in 2012.
Please do not give in to compromise or the coercion pressing you to accept this deeply-flawed CETA agreement. Stand strong, protect yourselves and your economy, and assert your rights. We are behind you and take heart from your courage.
Thanking you in deepest sincerity,