Canada: The untold costs of free trade with the EU to be paid by Nova Scotia

As the federal government of Canada continues to move forward towards the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, a new research produced by the Nova Scotian provincial office of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) finds that the benefits are being oversold while the costs and consequences are being minimized and even ignored.

CETA could result in between 510 and 2587 net job losses in Nova Scotia, and threatens to restrict the authority and autonomy of democratically-elected governments to enact public policy in support of local economic benefits or even to respond to citizens’ needs

The projections of the new CCPA-Nova Scotia report, “CETA and NS: Who pays for 'free' trade?” 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 European Union. 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."

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CETA and NS: Who pays for 'free' trade?: