Roundtable Speaks out on CETA
Roundtable Speaks out on CETA

Roundtable Speaks out on CETA

2 min read
Written by Ellen Desjardins

The Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable is speaking out about the harmful impacts of the proposed Canada-Europe Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).

Due to concerns about CETA’s potential impact on the local food and agriculture sector, the Roundtable is urging all local municipal Councils to pass a resolution asking municipalities and other local public institutions to be exempted from the CETA. This has already been done by many other Canadian cities and regions, including Toronto and Vancouver.

Next week, the Roundtable will be sharing its concerns with the Townships of North Dumfries, Woolwich, and Wellesley, and the Cities of Waterloo and Kitchener. Plans to address the City of Cambridge, Wilmot Township, and the Region of Waterloo are pending.

The Roundtable’s concerns focus on CETA’s proposed restrictions on the ability of municipalities to give preference to local bidders on contracts, as they might do if they passed policies committing to buy increasing percentages of local food. In a letter passed unanimously by the 18 members of the Roundtable on March 21st. 2012, the Roundtable warned:

Under CETA, if any public institution or municipality in the Region of Waterloo chooses to procure even a portion of the foods it buys from local sources, as the Roundtable has advocated for years (and as other municipalities like Toronto, Halton, and Markham have already done), European corporations could sue for potential lost revenues.

The Roundtable also fears that, while CETA may open up new European markets for Canadian beef, pork, canola, and other commodities, increased imports from the more developed European food manufacturing sector would cause major adjustment costs for the Canadian farm and food sector:

The Region of Waterloo … and our area municipalities are incorporating food policies into their Official Plans for the first time. This work has made our region a recognized leader in food system renewal in North America. This progress may be undermined and stifled by the effects of the CETA.

Over 40 Canadian cities and regions have already passed motions for proposals to exclude them from CETA. In our area, it includes Guelph, Brantford, Brant County, Stratford, Hamilton, Windsor, Essex County, Mississauga, and Toronto.

To read the Roundtable’s full letter to local municipalities outlining its concerns with CETA, click here.

To read background information on the CETA from the Council of Canadians, click here.