Majority of Canadians want Canada-EU trade deal text released now



    OTTAWA, Oct. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - The Council of Canadians has found that
77 percent of Canadians want the draft text of a sweeping new Canada-European
Union trade deal made public before the October 14 federal election vote, in a
poll conducted by Strategic Communications. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has
reportedly decided not to release the draft text and internal study of the
trade deal that is said to exceed NAFTA in scope, despite talks on the deal
that will take place in Montreal just three days after the election. The poll
also shows that 67 per cent of Conservative voters believe that the draft text
should be released right away.
    "Stephen Harper must be accountable to the people of Canada and release
this text immediately," says Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council
of Canadians. "This poll demonstrates that Canadians across political lines
believe the text should be made public now and debated as part of this
election."
    The Canada-European trade deal, described as groundbreaking by Quebec
premier Jean Charest and as 'deep economic integration' by a senior EU
official, is said to favour full access by European Union countries to
billions of dollars of Canadian government procurement budgets and include
areas of provincial jurisdictional responsibility. Investment, services and
energy issues have been cited as part of the deal, raising questions of
whether it will include the controversial NAFTA dispute-settlement mechanism
and proportional-sharing provisions.
    "The fact that Stephen Harper hasn't uttered a single word about this new
proposed Canada-EU trade deal before or during this election, and which
promises to be more sweeping than NAFTA, should raise serious doubts in
Canadians' minds about his appropriateness to lead us in new international
trade talks," adds Barlow. "He sees nothing wrong with NAFTA, which most
Canadians want renegotiated. And NAFTA is exactly the wrong model on which an
EU-Canada trade deal should be negotiated. It will only worsen the impact on
jobs, the environment and public services."
    The full results of the poll are available at: www.canadians.org
    The poll results are drawn from Strategic Communications' National
Omnibus Survey, which interviewed a nationally representative sample of
1,202 adult Canadians over the period October 2nd to 6th, 2008. The survey was
conducted over the internet.  Strategic Communications, Inc. is a national
public opinion research firm whose polling results have been reported in
Maclean's, the Globe & Mail, and the Toronto Star, among others.  Stratcom is
the official pollster to 24 Hours newspaper in Vancouver.
    The question asked was: Three days after the upcoming federal election is
over, Canadian and European officials will begin negotiating a broad agreement
to integrate Canada's economy with the 27 nations of the European Union.
Despite how important such a deal could be for Canadians, the federal
government has so far turned down requests by the media and concerned citizens
to see the draft text of the agreement. Do you believe that the federal
government should make public the draft text of this new Canada-European Union
trade deal before the October 14 federal election vote?




For further information:

For further information: Dylan Penner, Media Officer, Council of
Canadians (613) 795-8685

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