National Farmers Union Oct 14 Press Release:
Campaign Against Canada–EU Trade Agreement
SASKATOON, Sask.─ “Today, the National Farmers Union is launching a national
campaign against the threat to the democratic rights of farmers and citizens posed
by the proposed Canada – European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and
Trade Agreement (CETA). The NFU’s campaign objective is to inform farmers and
citizens of what is being bargained away, and to have the agreement scrapped”, said
Terry Boehm, President of the National Farmers Union.
The National Farmers Union obtained a draft of the secret text of the agreement this
spring. The fifth round of negotiations will occur in Ottawa next week, and the
Canadian Government has announced that it will ratify the deal in 2011. Canadians
are largely unaware of the agreement and what is being ceded to the demands of
the European Union. Canada has very little to gain in the agreement as European
Union tariffs average only 2%.
Canadian farmers will lose a great deal and be subject to draconian intellectual
property rights enforcement measures. CETA could virtually eliminate the age-old
practice of farmer’s saving, reusing, exchanging, and selling seed from their crops.
“Using farm saved seed could cost you and your farm. The farmer’s land,
equipment, and crops can be seized for an alleged infringement of intellectual
property rights attached to plant varieties owned by global seed corporations
such as Monsanto, Bayer and Syngenta”, said Boehm. “Canada’s dairy, poultry,
and egg supply management will also be at risk”, added Boehm.
“The National Farmers Union has joined social justice organizations to raise the
alarm over the inability, under CETA, of our elected governments to favour locally
procured goods and services. All levels of government including municipalities and
our cities will be prohibited from giving preference to local food and locally owned
businesses and services. Product and food safety will be at risk as Canadian
standards cannot exceed international technical standards. Imported products and
food cannot be inspected until after a problem has occurred. Canada must accept
any of the European Union’s 27 member countries’ certificates. If one province or
territory accepts a European Union product, all provinces and territories are banned
from refusing the product”, said Boehm.
One only has to look at the results of Canada’s slavish support of liberalized global
trade over the last twenty years, to see the results. Canada’s farmers have tripled
exports, but farm debt has tripled as well reaching $64 billion. Moreover, realized
net farm income from the markets has been negative since 2002.
“Today, the National Farmers Union calls on all farmers and citizens to stop this
march over the next cliff, by informing their elected officials at all levels, that the
losses under CETA, a global corporate bill of rights, will not be tolerated”, concluded
National Farmers Union President, Terry Boehm.