Trade deal too secret, could hurt Island farmers – committee told

By Laura Hines
Oct. 17, 2014

Tony Redden has a warning for P.E.I. dairy farmers, a new trade deal with Europe may cost them millions.
Redden is from the Sierra Club, and he made the comment at a provincial legislative standing committee meeting on agriculture, environment, energy and forestry on Oct. 15.
The trade agreement with Europe is called the Comprehensive Economic and Trades Agreement, CETA. It could open the doors to more European exports and cost Island farmers $2.5 million, Redden said.
Redden is pushing for less secrecy surrounding the trade agreement. He wants more documents to be made public.
A big concern for Island farmers is with an age-old practice involving seeds. The process of saving, reusing, exchanging and selling seeds is threatened, said Redden.
“The CETA agreement will have Canada change the way seeds are currently regulated.”
CETA is not primarily about trade, said Ann Wheatley of the Cooper Institute.
“This agreement sets up a whole bunch of new rules.”
New public services, locks in privatizations, the ability to sue governments, restricting government abilities to improve existing legislation or intervene in a market to realize a public goal, she said.
The agreement was negotiated over a span of five years in tight secrecy, said Wheatley.
“We want the government to be open about what they negotiate.”
There are four areas the new CETA rules could affect; environment regulation, land protection act, wind energy and public transit, she said.