Quebec CETA petition: Demand to see the text and hold public hearings on Canada-EU corporate rights deal

January 6, 2014  A petition on the National Assembly of Quebec website asks the Quebec government to immediately publish all texts related to the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and to hold "an open, public and inclusive debate" through public consultations and a parliamentary commission. The petition closes February 6, 2014.
On October 18, 2013, Prime Minister Harper announced Canada had concluded an agreement in principle with the EU, ending four years of secret CETA negotiations. The Canada-EU deal is controversial for many reasons. It will extend patent protections for pharmaceutical drugs and could add more than $1 billion to drug costs in Canada. Municipalities, hospitals and school boards will be banned from buying locally. And European corporations will gain rights to sue Canada and the provinces outside the regular court system if public health, environmental or conservation policies hurt their profits.
Despite the obvious risks, provincial governments, including Quebec, offered qualified support for the agreement in principle with the EU, which the Harper government says will only be made public after it is signed. Under normal circumstances, there is no way to change any part of a trade deal once it has been signed. The process is completely anti-democratic .
Quebec labour, environmental and trade justice activists hope enough people sign their CETA petition to force the provincial government to release the CETA text now and hold public hearings. The goal is to correct the democratic deficit in Canadian trade policy, where it is considered normal for secret trade negotiations informed by corporate interests to be allowed to make permanent changes to public policy without any way for the public or parliament to object.
If you are a resident of Quebec, please consider signing the petition now . If you're French is a little rusty, we have translated the petition into English below. All fields must be filled in, including your last name (Nom), first name (Prénom), city (Ville), province, country (Pays), postal code (Code Postal) and email (Courriel), which the form asks that you confirm (Confirmez votre courriel).
The deadline for receiving signatures is February 6, 2014. Once you have signed, please share this petition with friends, family and organizations in Quebec.
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• With Canada-EU trade talks nearly finished, Quebec Solidaire reaches across the Atlantic for a progressive alliance against CETA
• CETA Trojan Horse to crash Quebec legislative hearing on Canada-EU trade deal
• Quebec groups, politicians call for immediate public debate on CETA
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union
To sign this petition, you must complete 3 steps:
1. Step 1: fill out the form that appears below the text of the petition and send it (you must accept the signing conditions before sending the form).
2. Step 2: consult your electronic mailbox and open the message sent by the Assembly.
3. Step 3: in this message, click on the link enabling you to register your signature.
You may sign a petition only once.
Petition text
CONSIDERING the agreement in principle on a proposed Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, in which Quebec has been closely implicated;
CONSIDERING the secrecy surrounding the content of these negotiations;
CONSIDERING THAT 80 per cent of all public procurement must be opened, unconditionally, to European companies and that this will result in thousands of provincial and municipal public contracts going to these companies, diminishing the possibility of using public spending to stimulate the local and regional economy;
CONSIDERING the extension of patent terms on pharmaceutical drugs and its anticipated cost increase to the price of medication as a result;
CONSIDERING THAT the massive entry into the country of 17,700 additional tonnes of European cheeses will inflict fatal competition for Quebec producers and that the compensation promised to those producers by the Harper government will come out of the pockets of taxpayers;
CONSIDERING THAT European multinational companies will be able to sue our governments when they adopt policies favouring local development, or to protect the environment, if these policies affect corporate profits;
CONSIDERING THAT the National Assembly of Quebec allows for only two hours of debate on all trade agreements and that this is completely insufficient;
We, citizens, demand of the Government of Quebec:
• To immediately publish all texts and documents related to CETA;
• To create the conditions necessary to hold an open, public and inclusive debate, notably through expanded public consultations and a parliamentary commission.
Signing deadline : February 6, 2014