The newly formed Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition said yesterday that it had learned that European Member States have until September 12, 2014 to make amendments to the text of the Canadian-European Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).
Based on this new information, the Coalition is demanding that the Canadian Government release the full text of the agreement for review.
“The secrecy and lack of transparency by Prime Minister Harper and his Government is nothing short of contempt for the Canadian taxpayer,” said James Given, President, S.I.U. of Canada and Chair, Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition. “It’s time that they put up or get out.”
According to the Coalition: “It is imperative that the CETA agreement not enter into force until it has been fully debated and consequently agreed on by Canadian Parliament and European Parliament Members. Moreover, the
Coalition suggests that a referendum be held on this very important trade deal so that Canadians can have their say before this becomes law and the damage cannot be reversed.”
“If Prime Minister Harper is so confident about CETA, then an election should be held to let Canadians have their say. One thing that we can agree on is that no one gave the Conservatives the mandate to sell Canadians’ jobs to members of the EU!” continued Mr. Given.
The Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition stressed the urgency of the release of this agreement, adding that “if CETA comes to fruition it will eliminate thousands of Canadian jobs in the Maritime Trades by weakening and abolishing the Cabotage Laws. Furthermore, it will not take long before the rest of the Canadian transportation sectors are affected, including, air, road and rail.”
Members of the Canadian Shipowners Association (CSA) also stepped forward last week in voicing concern that CETA may hurt Canada’s short sea shipping industry, its workers and suppliers and shippers.
The CSA said it was concerned about “the lack of transparency in the CETA negotiations and the fact that access to trades between Canadian ports may be given to EU carriers, who employ international labour at much lower rates, do not pay Canadian taxes or employ Canadian workers and are not regulated to rigorous Transport Canada safety and operating standards for Canadian flagged vessels.”
On 18 October 2013, the EU and Canada reached a political agreement on the key elements of CETA. The agreement’s goal was, among others, to remove over 99% of tariffs between the two economies and create a sizeable new market access to opportunities in services and investment, according to the statement made by the EU.