Halifax—Close consideration of the probable costs and benefits of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (“CETA”) for Nova Scotia reveals that the agreement's benefits are being oversold, while its costs and consequences are minimized or even ignored.
According to projections in the new CCPA-NS report, CETA and NS: Who pays for 'free' trade?, the CETA could result in between 510 and 2587 net job losses in Nova Scotia. Unlike the figures offered by the federal government, these projections consider the complexity of economic factors involved, including the appreciation of the Canadian dollar since negotiations began three years ago.
According to Angela Giles, co-author of the report, "This deal does nothing to redress the current imbalanced trade relationship Nova Scotia has with the EU. Instead, it would result in more exports of non-renewable resources, while further eroding the manufacturing sector."
The CETA threatens to restrict the authority and autonomy of democratically elected governments to enact public policy in support of local food systems and local producers of renewable energy resources. Further, Giles states, "CETA threatens Nova Scotia's ability to enact fair drug pricing policy because the proposed changes to Canada's drug patent system would add approximately $70-million annually to Nova Scotia's prescription drug costs."
It is also too risky to assume that Nova Scotia farmers, in particular dairy operations, can withstand an increase in European imports or be able to increase their access the European markets. A cornerstone of our renewable energy strategy is support for local producers, but this could be interpreted as unfair advantage by the Europeans.
According to the Canadian government, the Canada-EU negotiating session which began in Brussels in October 2012 could be the last one before the CETA goes for ratification by the EU and the Canadian Parliament.
CCPA-NS Director and co-author Christine Saulnier says, "Despite what the federal government has said, it is not too late to raise concerns and stimulate much-needed public debate about its potential impacts on Nova Scotia. This report helps remedy the unjustifiable lack of transparency about the CETA."
The CETA and Nova Scotia: Who pays for free trade? can be downloaded free at: www.policyalternatives.ca. For more information, or to arrange interviews, contact co-author Angela Giles at 478-5727 (cell) or 422-7811. Or contact CCPA-NS Director, Christine Saulnier at (902) 477-1252 or (902) 240-0926 (cell) or email [email protected].