PEI Premier needs to protect Islanders from CETA

CHARLOTTETOWN: The PEI Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE PEI) is warning Premier Robert Ghiz about the downside of the Canada-EU trade deal – the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

“We want Premier Ghiz to state where he stands on this issue. So far, Premier Ghiz has not entered into discussion with us regarding our concerns with this trade agreement. He has been pretty tight lips about CETA,” said CUPE PEI President Lori MacKay.

A delegation of CUPE members will be going to Nova Scotia this week as Canada’s premiers will be in Halifax for their annual meeting. One of the items on the agenda for the Council of the Federation should be CETA and Prince Edward Island’s Premier should make this a priority

“This international agreement will fundamentally reshape the constitutional landscape of our country. What concerns us the most is that this agreement that will limit our provincial and territorial powers is being negotiated behind closed doors,” explained MacKay.

CUPE recently commissioned trade lawyer Steven Shrybman to review leaked CETA negotiating texts. Shrybman’s analysis concludes that the trade deal will give European corporations new rights at the expense of provincial powers.

CUPE has sent this legal opinion to all provincial and territorial leaders in advance of the Council of the Federation meeting.

“This opinion should be a wake-up call for the premiers. The trade deal with the EU includes areas of provincial power that have never been covered by international trade deals in the past, including natural resources, treatment and delivery of water services, and health care.”

MacKay says that according to our analysis, CETA will give European corporations the right to sue governments for decisions that affect the profitability of their investments. If CETA is signed, European investors will be able to challenge public regulation and decision-making in secret tribunals, suing for compensation.

“CUPE PEI is asking Premier Ghiz and his Canadian counterparts to withdraw their support until all CETA’s details have been disclosed and discussed,” concluded Mackay.