"Welcome to the official Web site of the Mission of Canada to the European Union", says the Government of Canada Canada-EU website.
Canada-EU trade proposal rivals scope of NAFTA
"Canadian and European officials say they plan to begin negotiating a massive agreement to integrate Canada's economy with the 27 nations of the European Union, with preliminary talks to be launched at an Oct. 17 summit in Montreal three days after the federal election."
"an effort to begin what a senior EU official involved in the talks described in an interview yesterday as “deep economic integration negotiations.”
"The two governments have completed a detailed study of the proposed agreement that will be unveiled shortly after the election, should the Conservatives win."
Deep economic integration? Should the Conservatives win?
How come we haven't heard about this before?
"European officials said Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided not to release until after the election..."
Yes, let's not risk having a summit on deep integration spoil the election.
"Because of the election, Mr. Harper appears to have decided not to unveil a full text of the proposed agreement, but instead to use the summit to inaugurate the trade talks with the launch of a “scoping exercise” that will quickly set the goals of the pact and lead to formal “comprehensive trade and investment negotiations” to begin in “early 2009”, according to communications between senior Canadian and European officials examined by The Globe and Mail."
You know, maybe this could be a good thing - diversify and increase our markets and all that.
"Proponents, including all of Canada's major business-lobby organizations, are in favour of the deal .."
I see. So the electorate is not to be included in the information loop yet, but the Canadian Council of Chief Executives has already given its stamp of approval. If it's anything like the SPP, I'll bet they wrote it, and if I go over to their website, they'll be bragging about it already.
"The proposed pact would far exceed the scope of older agreements such as NAFTA by encompassing not only unrestricted trade in goods, services and investment and the removal of tariffs, but also the free movement of skilled people and an open market in government services and procurement – which would require that Canadian governments allow European companies to bid as equals on government contracts for both goods and services and end the favouring of local or national providers of public-sector services."
"Ottawa officials say they have overcome what they see as their biggest hurdle: the resistance of provincial governments to an agreement that would force them to allow European corporations to provide their government services, if their bids are the lowest.
So it's a Canada-EU TILMA then.
But why now?
"With the breakdown of World Trade Organization talks in July, European officials have become much more interested in opening a bilateral trade and economic integration deal with North America. A pact with the United States would be politically impossible in Europe, senior European Commission officials said."
Yes, you can see why Harper might not want this to come up now, just before the election.
The theme of this Sunday's Cross Country Check Up on CBC is the economy.
Their phone number is : 1-888-416-8333.
I think more people should know about this before the election whether Steve likes it or not.