(Queen’s Park): GPO leader Mike Schreiner is demanding that Premier Wynne conduct a public review of CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) before Ontario approves the deal.
“The people of Ontario deserve the right to accept or reject CETA’s sweeping changes before the deal is finalized,” says Schreiner. “Ontario cannot let CETA sell out local decision making, local purchasing policies, and sovereignty over our natural resources and public services without a public debate on costs and benefits.”
The GPO has raised concerns over CETA in the past. In a letter to then Premier McGuinty last year, the GPO asked to Premier to:
- exempt natural resources, local purchasing programs, public utilities and services such as education and health care, and municipalities from CETA;
- demand open and transparent negotiations, and
- insist the dispute mechanisms are open and fair.
“The Green Party supports free, fair trade with Europe, but NAFTA has taught us that we need to think these things through to prevent expensive problems after the treaty is signed,” says Schreiner. “Ontarians need to be in control of fundamental decisions about their province and their economy.”
CETA would be the first trade deal that extends to provinces and municipalities. Over 50 municipalities and school boards have sought an exemption from CETA.
“Ontario must have a public review before approving such sweeping changes to our democratic institutions and local economies,” says Schreiner. “We can’t sell out our sovereignty to multi-national corporations without the people having a voice on the final details of this deal.”