Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA, has been hailed as the biggest bilateral trade agreement for Canada. This proposed ‘free trade’ agreement between Canada and the European Union, could threaten the economic prosperity, of the people of Nova Scotia. According to a report published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), CETA could create hurdles for Nova Scotia in determining its own policies. The Nova Scotia chapter of this organization has predicted, in their report, a loss of about 500 to 2600 jobs, even though small jobs will be created in the resource based industries.
The report also mentions that the number of new jobs created will be much lower than the number of jobs that will be lost. Hence, this agreement will have an adverse affect on the job market of this region. CETA will also encourage foreign investors to file lawsuits against the provincial governments, given the fact that certain local trade policies will be termed discriminatory to foreign competitors. The $100 million dollar lawsuit filed by Bilcon (an American company) under NAFTA is an example of the kind of Pandora’s Box this trade agreement can open.
The CCPA report also argues that given the nature of substantial trade deficit between the State of Nova Scotia and the European Union, there are higher chances that the state will be a loser when the agreement is signed. The Halifax Media Co-op contacted Brooke Armstrong, the provincial spokesperson for Economic & Rural Development and Tourism, to get a response about this report. In his email to the HMC group, sent on the 30th of October, he neither denied nor confirmed the information:
“Nova Scotia has identified the potential gains and risks in any agreement. We are not prepared to undermine our position in negotiations by discussing these publicly, but we will only support an agreement that is, on balance, in the interests of Nova Scotia and its people."
CETA will make it difficult for the provincial government to implement policies that will be beneficial for the people of the province. Instead, the Agreement might lead to additional economic burden on the people, as the province will have to abide by certain rules and regulations of the European Union.
The CCPA report also points out that the agricultural sector, which is one of the largest contributors to the provincial economy, will be severely affected by CETA. The supply-chain management practices, implemented by the province, in dairy, eggs and poultry industries can be easily deemed unfair against competitors from Europe.
Angela Giles, the Atlantic regional organizer for the Council for Canadians and the co-author of the CCPA report, have stated to the HMC group that the people of this region need to protect their rights. She says, “We need to raise this with our representatives in municipal and provincial governments. We need to ask the questions; the Chronicle Herald isn't going to do it. We continue to hear about the same one or two benefits over and over, but nobody in the mainstream is doing the necessary critical thinking."