Jean Crowder raises a good point… or two

Jean Crowder raises a good point… or two

April 26, 2011 Uncategorised 0

It’s unusal that the ecovillage expresses a political stand. In fact, I think I only referred to any sort of political leaning once in a facebook status. But today… today I have to post this because it impacts what we do and how we live – and likely what you do and how you live. Lemme know what you think.

Food security continues to be a burning issue for many people living in Cowichan Valley.

Like many of the places around the world facing food insecurity, it isn’t just the ability to farm, or climate change or markets that determine how secure a food system is.

Too often, it is trade policies that help create food insecurity. A new trade deal being negotiated behind closed doors could have far-reaching effects on our local food security.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will have an enormous impact on our country.

Under CETA new intellectual property laws would allow corporations an unprecedented amount of control over how farmers use their seeds, preventing them from selling or reusing them. And if farmers were even accused of doing so, they could be subject to pre-emptive seizure of their property without any wrongdoing even having been proved.

Other areas of concern include commercial access to vital public services such as water distribution.The three biggest players in the water world, accounting for over 70% of the water market, are all European Multinationals ranked among the top profit-making corporations in the world on the Fortune 500.

Clearly it is in these companies’ best long term interest to lobby heavily to access Canadian public water delivery systems and ownership, turning them into a money-making enterprise rather than a right of all Canadians.

The EU is also pressuring the Canadian government for better access to our waters as well as relaxing our export regulations on unprocessed fish. We’ve all seen what happens when lax regulations allow resources like raw logs to be exported – jobs disappear.

Negotiations on CETA have been going on behind closed doors for nearly two years now. The NDP has consistently called on the Conservative government to make all negotiations transparent and democratic and provide honest, comprehensive impact assessments.
One of the primary goals for the EU in these negotiations is access to government procurement markets, specifically at the provincial and municipal levels.

Procurement is an extremely valuable policy tool, particularly for economic and environmental issues, but only if governments have a choice on where funds for procurement go.

Under this agreement as it currently stands, governments would not be able to favour local suppliers and businesses for economic reasons, nor would they be able to encourage those that are environmentally-friendly.

These are only some of the many significant problems the NDP is fighting against. It is vital that we preserve the ability of all levels of government to make progressive decisions in the interest of the public.

The country cannot prosper without trade, but no trade agreement should come at the cost of our democracy, health and environment.

Here is a copy of the column in the South Cowichan Life Magazine for Aprill 2011.


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