Global Justice Now | Love Canada, hate CETA – our new animation

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Love Canada, hate CETA – our new animation

Happy New Year! We hope you had a great start to 2017.

Exactly a month from now, the European parliament will be voting on CETA*, the toxic trade deal between the EU and Canada. CETA has less to do with trade and more to do with corporate power. And despite Brexit, we could still be subject to this deal for years to come.

We’ve made a humorous one minute animation about the problem with CETA and we were hoping you might watch and share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Why we need to stop CETA

Some people are less suspicious about CETA than they are with other trade deals because of Canada  they think that Canada is more progressive and liberal and so not as much of a threat as, say, the USA.

But our new animation shows it’s not about Canada, it’s about corporate power. Like other trade deals, CETA hands over new powers for corporations to sue governments in corporate courts for making decisions that might harm their profits.

And all the particularly nasty corporations in the USA that might want to sue governments could just use their Canadian branches to take advantage of the trade deal.

The sheer complexity of these trade deals means that people often ignore the threat that they pose. So we’re hoping that the simple little video is something you would like to share so that many more people are contacting their MEPs in the next few weeks to ask them to oppose this toxic trade deal.

Please watch and share the video on Facebook, Twitter or from YouTube.

Global Justice Now | Less than 24hrs left – we need help NOW to push against CET

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22 November 2016

In less than 24 hours, members of the European parliament (MEPs) will be asked to vote on whether the new system of corporate courts, proposed by the EU/Canada trade deal, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement [CETA], should be scrutinised by the European Court of Justice before it comes into force.

Last night MEPs voted to block any debate taking place before the vote, so your action is even more crucial.

Why this is important

One of the big problems with the toxic trade deal between Canada and the EU is the system of corporate courts that allow corporations to sue governments for passing laws that might harm their profits. This assault on democracy is called the Investor Court System (ICS).

A group of 89 MEPs quite rightly think that this controversial new court system needs much more scrutiny before it is unleashed across Europe, and they’ve made a proposal that ICS should be referred to the legal experts at the European Court of Justice.

We need all our MEPs to support the very sensible demand that the corporate court system should be scrutinized by legal experts.
But some EU leaders are determined to force this toxic trade deal through at top speed at any cost. They have insisted that this vote should be pushed forward tomorrow, Wednesday 23 November. Party leaders are even insisting MEPs withdraw their support for the motion tabled for Wednesday. These politicians know that if there is proper legal scrutiny from the European Court of Justice, then it could jeopardise the whole deal.
This is not democracy, this is politicians pushing toxic trade deals through at breakneck speed with no debate and at great risk to our legal systems. If CETA is pushed through like this it will still impact the UK regardless of when Brexit happens.

Please email your MEPs now

War on Want | Ask your MP to engage in the CETA debate in Parliament!

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Ask your MP to engage in the CETA debate in Parliament!


Hi Paul, thank you for all your efforts on CETA so far – they really have made a difference! 

UK Members of Parliament are to finally debate controversial EU-Canada trade deal CETA after Trade Secretary Liam Fox MP admitted that he intentionally side-stepped parliamentary scrutiny when he gave UK consent for the approval of the deal – the exact opposite of ‘taking back control’.

We’ve been told by contacts in the Department for International Trade that they hope to have the debate by the end of November if the parliamentary timetable allows this. If there’s no time for the debate in November, January is a likely option.

MPs generally have a very low understanding of CETA – and there’s a potential that they will fall for the ‘free trade’ and ‘progressive values’ spin that surrounds the deal. Unfair trade deals like CETA and TTIP have been exploited by the far right at home and abroad to advance their cause. Your MP needs to know the reality that CETA is bad news.

These are some of the many reasons:

  • Growth, jobs, trade within the EU: A study on CETA found that CETA means job losses across Europe, drop offs in government revenues, GDP and money going to workers, and negative impacts on trade
  • Public services: under CETA, all public services are automatically up for locked-in privatisation unless specifically excluded – trade unions in Europe and Canada oppose CETA
  • Democracy: Just like TTIP, CETA’s ‘corporate court’ mechanism means EU governments can be sued in a private justice system for policies that affect corporate profits – and CETA opens the process up to more than 80% of US corporations in Europe
  • Climate change: CETA only progressed after the European Commission – under extreme pressure from the USA, Canada, the UK and Big Oil companies – diluted climate change rules to stop the importing of high-polluting tar sands oil

Contact your MP now to make sure they attend the CETA debate and are aware of the deal’s immense dangers!

If you want a general overview of CETA’s dangers, you can read our briefing on CETA, or this longer CETA analysis we co-published with allies in Europe and Canada.

There’s also this report we co-published on CETA’s threat to food safety and this briefing from the House of Commons Library.

SUBJECT | MPs to debate CETA trade deal in parliament

Dear Ben Bradshaw MP

I live in your constituency of Exeter and I write to urge you to attend and engage with the upcoming debate in parliament on EU-Canada trade deal, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

A debate on CETA should have happened before now, but as trade secretary Liam Fox MP admitted to the Europe Scrutiny Committee (goo.gl/OMVxlj), he side-lined parliamentary scrutiny because “the treaty was worth a great deal in terms of jobs, investment and prosperity”.

The official study of CETA estimates that it will add 0.01% per year (0.08% after seven years) to EU GDP (goo.gl/RGgPPm). A UN study finds that CETA will result in reduced economic growth in the EU, job losses and a dangerous reduction in intra-EU trade (goo.gl/ZsZmiv).

CETA was negotiated wholly in secret for five years – there was never a ‘reading room’ for MPs to examine texts. And as the vice-chair of the EU trade committee has confirmed (goo.gl/d2Z2WQ), CETA is devastating news for the fight against climate change: the deal only progressed after new EU legislation on high-polluting fuels was diluted under pressure from the USA, Canada, the UK and Big Oil firms (goo.gl/V8DqDr).

As CETA will cause job cuts, trade unions across the UK, EU and Canada remain opposed. More than 3.4 million people across Europe – 500,000 here in the UK – have signed a petition against CETA due to its deregulation of social, health and environmental rules, the locked-in privatisation of public services, and the introduction of a ‘corporate court’ ISDS system (https://goo.gl/GYdKkg) that will grant Canadian big business and 80% of US corporations in Europe (https://goo.gl/oobxjw) the power to sue our government for lost profits in a private justice system.

More than 800 years after Magna Carta, we cannot allow CETA to sacrifice ‘equality before the law’ and undermine parliamentary sovereignty (https://goo.gl/zaN6ar): if the CETA deal is not ‘provisionally applied’, the UK can be sued under ISDS for 20 years after leaving the deal, regardless of what parliament wants.

British MEPs on the EU trade committee have already admitted that the text of CETA is flawed. However, both the EU and Canada refuse to open the text, and have instead pieced together a ‘declaration’ which lawyers have confirmed cannot override the content of the treaty [see SSRN: The EU-Canada Joint Interpretive Declaration/Instrument on the CETA]

I believe that from start to finish, CETA has been an example of how not to do a trade deal. CETA has huge implications for the UK and for the future of trade deals in general.

As you are aware, Exeter CLP recently passed a motion calling for Labour to oppose the complete agreement when it comes before Parliament.

As your constituent, I ask you to let me know you will attend the debate and that you will represent my concerns in parliament. I will watch the debate with interest.

Sum Of Us | We Can Still Stop CETA

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It’s official: the EU and Canada have agreed on the terms of CETA and signed the deal. But it’s not over yet — the European Parliament still has to approve the deal before it comes into effect. We can still stop CETA.

Cut from the same cloth as TTIP, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement is an international trade deal that hands over more power to corporations to step all over our environment, workers’ rights, and affordable healthcare.

We know CETA is bad news. It’s why more than 340,000 people filled the streets of cities across Germany and Austria to protest CETA and TTIP in September. So if enough parliamentarians defend the interests of the people they represent, CETA won’t stand a chance. But it’s up to us to make sure our MEPs know we oppose trade deals that put profits over people.

We know that our representatives want to hear from us on CETA. Politicians from Wallonia, a small region in Belgium, were strengthened by the support from people all over the EU and made sure that CETA’s signing was temporarily postponed. Thanks to a huge swell in people power, CETA was suddenly not a done deal. Though Wallonia finally agreed to CETA, their opposition proved that we have the power to derail this trade deal.

CETA still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament and every single EU member state — giving us a great chance to deliver the final blow to this corporate power grab. And if we stop the deal in European Parliament, CETA cannot come into effect — not even provisionally.

Thanks to the generous donations of SumOfUs members like you, we’ve been able to ramp up the fight against CETA. Together with our partners, we are launching the next phase of the CETA Check campaign to make sure as many citizens as possible get in touch with their representatives.

We’ve commissioned a short video — to reach even more people right now. We were also able to team up with partner organisations to start planning a documentary on one of the worst parts of CETA: the rules that allow corporations to sue governments over lost profits.

We can’t underestimate the power we have when we come together to hold our representatives to account. Together we’ve brought TTIP to the brink of failure. It’s time we do the same to CETA.

Telling your Member of Parliament to vote against CETA is our best chance to stop the dangerous trade deal altogether. Act now to stop CETA.

More information: 
In Parliament this week: Ceta, data protection, drones, European Parliament News, 7 November, 2016.

Ceta: EU and Canada sign long-delayed free trade deal, BBC, 30 October, 2016.

 

War on Want | CETA update

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Dear Paul,

What a couple of weeks it’s been for EU-Canada trade deal CETA – the deal became the focus of world news as it was temporarily blocked by Belgian regional governments, led by the now famous Walloons. Bear with me – this is quite a long letter but there is a lot to update you on!

Activists and campaigners like you were at the heart of this amazing work. We know that your letters to MEPs are working – they have spoken about hearing many concerns about CETA from their constituents. And while the EU and Canada went on to sign the deal in a meaningless ceremony for the cameras, the damage dealt to CETA may well be a killer blow.

In the next few months we have a couple of crucial opportunities to ensure that CETA is condemned to history – UK trade secretary Liam Fox confirmed last week that there will be a CETA debate for MPs in Westminster this year, and the whole deal is scheduled to be voted on by the European Parliament on February 14, 2017.

Stay tuned, as we’ll soon have new materials and actions for you to use to contact MPs about the CETA debate in the UK, and MEPs for the CETA vote in the European Parliament.

(From left: Minister-President of Wallonia Paul Magnette meets protesters, War on Want campaigner Mark Dearn at the Citizens’ CETA Summit in Brussels.)

We were in Brussels over the past weeks to follow CETA up close. Belgian concerns reflected those of the 3.4 million people across Europe who signed a petition against CETA – and opposition is still strong  in governments in Germany,  Austria and Poland, across the European and Canadian trade union movement and among UN human rights experts.

As we have explained, CETA spells bad news for EU jobs, growth and trade, it has helped destroy critical EU climate change laws, and its ‘corporate court’ mechanism means EU governments could be sued by tens of thousands of North American corporations. Worse still, trade secretary Liam Fox admitted that he bypassed normal parliamentary scrutiny in order to help force the deal through.

But Belgium now says it will not be able to seal CETA without changes to its corporate court chapter – both sides refuse to re-open the deal’s text – and that if any regions oppose CETA, it cannot ratify the deal. And in Germany  a court ruling has put some strong legal barriers to CETA going ahead.

CETA remains in big trouble – and with it, so too is the EU’s whole corporate-led trade agenda. Your campaigning and activism has brought us this far, and it can bring us the new trade agenda we so badly need!

In solidarity,

Mark Dearn

Global Justice Now | Ask your MP to oppose toxic EU-Canada deal

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Ask your MP to oppose toxic EU-Canada deal

Say no to CETA

A trade deal as dangerous as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [TTIP] has been agreed between the EU and Canada, and is about to come into force.

The EU commission is trying to fast-track this deal so it becomes law before Parliament has scrutinised it in Westminster. We need stop this happening to avoid serious consequences for our democracy and public services.

Please email your MP now.

WHAT IS CETA?

Just like TTIP, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement [CETA] will give corporations new powers to sue governments through special corporate courts. And even if the British parliament rejects CETA, these corporate courts could remain active for several years.

CETA’s 1,600 pages show us that it’s a threat not only to our food standards, but also to the battle against climate change, our ability to regulate big banks to prevent another crash and our power to renationalise industries. 

Public services are particularly at risk because the deal will make it more difficult for future governments, national and local, to prevent Canadian companies from taking over public services in the EU.

WHY WE NEED TO ACT NOW

CETA has already been agreed by the European commission and the Canadian government and it now awaits ratification over the next 12 months.

We believe CETA should be stopped. But it’s a race against the clock.

CETA could take effect in Britain early next year without a Westminster vote. We could face a ‘corporate court’ case from Canadian multinationals before our parliament has had the chance to agree to the deal – or throw it out.

Email your MP and get them to sign Early Day Motion 165 on CETA.

 

Morning Star | Labour Must Oppose CETA

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31 October 2016

Labour Must Oppose CETA

CHAMPAGNE was no doubt flowing as EU and Canadian politicians patted each other on the back yesterday, having snatched the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) from the jaws of defeat.

Concessions have been wrung from the treaty by the government of Wallonia in Belgium, which had threatened to scuttle the deal.

In the eyes of desiccated Thatcherite throwback Lord Tebbit, the EU’s inability to secure the corporate treaty with Canada sooner was evidence of its blundering incompetence. For Blairite free-marketeer Lord Reid, it was scandalous that “seven years of work have been scuppered by a sub-state institution” like Wallonia. He will no doubt be relieved that the agreement is back on.

But claims it was undemocratic for the region of Wallonia to stand in the way of the treaty rest on the wholly mendacious argument that the rest of Europe wants it. There is no popular demand for Ceta — quite the opposite.

While the European Commission refused to allow a European Citizens Initiative on the issue (a mechanism supposedly enabling citizens of EU member states to lobby the commission directly), the Stop TTIP campaign petition requesting that both TTIP and Ceta be dropped signed up more than three million people.

People are rightly suspicious of treaties thrashed out in secret by corporate lawyers.

And everything that has been leaked confirms the suspicion that these deals are designed to entrench the power of business and diminish that of our elected representatives. Their prioritisation of the “right to trade” over all other rights will not merely lower safety standards and threaten public services (by opening them up to foreign competition). It also makes a mockery of our governments’ supposed commitment to tackle climate change. “Equal access” to markets for foreign and domestic suppliers prevents legislation to favour local or sustainable produce by the application of subsidies or tariffs.

The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause and the private courts it will establish — enabling businesses to sue governments if they believe their profits will be hurt by legislation — creates an appalling precedent, by which any law, however needed in order to ensure the safety of workers or consumers, or to protect the environment, can be challenged simply because it inconveniences the right of corporations to make a killing.

This is not some hypothetical risk. It is exactly how these clauses are already used across the world — from Australia, where big tobacco took the government to court over plain packaging, through to Ecuador, which was sued by oil giant Chevron for trying to protect its rainforest from oil spills, to Germany, where the Hamburg authorities dropped legislation to tackle pollution in the river Elbe when energy firm Vattenfall took legal action to stop its coal-fired power stations being subjected to new regulations. Wallonia’s government says its concerns have been addressed, but the truth is somewhat less encouraging.

Belgium has committed to “assess the social and environmental impact” of Ceta, and won the right to ask the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to rule on whether ISDS is compatible with EU law.

The ECJ — in cases such as Laval, Ruffert and Viking — has consistently prioritised the right of companies to make profits over the right of workers to organise. It cannot be relied on to protect democracy from big business now. The left must step up its campaign against Ceta, building cross-border alliances to maximise European popular resistance. Within Britain, pressure must be put on the Labour Party to shore up a position of total opposition to the treaty and to prevent the government from ratifying it here.