Greens call on McGuinty to protect Ontario from EU trade deal

Toronto – GPO leader Mike Schreiner is calling on Premier McGuinty to defend Ontario’s natural resources, local jobs and public services from CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement).

“The McGuinty government is failing to protect Ontario’s interest in the closed door EU trade negotiations, according to leaked media reports,” says Schreiner.  “Greens support free, fair trade with Europe, while maintaining democratic control over our natural resources, local job programs and public services.”

CETA is currently being negotiated behind closed doors, and the federal government is seeking input from the provinces and territories.  CETA is the first trade agreement that would apply to provincial and municipal governments.  Under NAFTA rules, any rights granted to European corporations under CETA would also automatically apply to North American companies.

“Why isn’t McGuinty standing up for Ontario when municipalities, such as my hometown of London, are saying no to this deal?” asks recent London West GPO candidate Gary Brown.  “CETA is a direct threat to local decision making, local purchasing policies, and sovereignty over our natural resources and public services.”

Over 50 municipalities and school boards are seeking an exemption from CETA.

The GPO is calling on the McGuinty government to exempt natural resources, local purchasing programs, public utilities and services such as education and health care, and municipalities from CETA.  The GPO is also calling for open and transparent negotiations and a change to the dispute mechanisms to put democratically elected governments and/or the courts in charge, not closed-door tribunals.