LONDON ACTION ALERT: Let’s Keep London out of CETA (Canada-European Union free trade deal)London city councillors want the City to be taken out of a dangerous trade deal with the European Union and we need to support them!
On April 16, the City of London's Finance and Administrative Services Committee decided it was time to ask the Ontario government to exclude the City from the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Like dozens of municipalities across Canada, including nearby Hamilton, Stratford, Toronto and Mississauga, London councillors don't want their democratic rights to set government policy or make spending decisions unfairly compromised by another corporate rights deal that puts jobs, public services and local democracy at risk.
London council had already passed a CETA motion in October after a presentation from the local Council of Canadians chapter on how CETA would stop the City from buying locally or using "Buy Canadian" policies when spending public money. Councillors on the finance committee this week decided London should strengthen its position on CETA by joining over 33 other municipalities looking to be excluded from the deal.
On May 1, the decision is expected to go to full council for a vote. We need to show London councillors we support their decision, and to vote yes on any motion that asks the province to Take Cities Out of CETA!
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
We need London residents to call or email their councillors letting them know they support a CETA exemption. Find their phone numbers and emails addresses below, along with a sample message.
WHAT IS CETA?
CETA is bad news for municipalities. It's not really a trade deal at all. It would be more accurate to say the goal of CETA is to re-write the rules on how governments, including cities like London, set policy on everything from buy local food supports to environmental protection to job creation and development strategies. CETA is all about improving corporate profits by limiting our social and economic options as communities. It threatens our public services, it is estimated to increase the cost of drugs in Canada by $3 billion annually, and it could cost us between 23,000 and 150,000 jobs according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
The EU trade deal will also impact how cities provide public services or set local policy. According to CETA documents made public January 18, only existing municipal measures will be protected and then only weakly. Future municipal policy and regulations that do not agree with strong investor guarantees in CETA can be challenged in trade disputes or taken to investment tribunals by corporations. Services provided at the municipal level, such as drinking and wastewater, waste management, public transit, are especially vulnerable to these kinds of trade challenges under CETA.
CETA's not about trade. It's not about prosperity. Like past "free" trade deals, CETA is about empowering the rich and undermining democracy.
TAKE ACTION: ON MAY 1, LET'S VOTE TO KEEP LONDON OUT OF CETA!
Between now and May 1, please call your councillor to let them know you support an exclusion for London and other municipalities from the CETA. We've included some possible talking points below in a sample letter. You can email a version of this letter to your councillor also, but phoning is best. For more talking points, please consult our TAKE ACTION TOOLKIT: TAKE COMMUNITIES OUT OF CETA from the Council of Canadians' System Change website.
For more information on CETA, visit www.canadians.org/CETA.
GET INVOLVED IN THE LOCAL FIGHTBACK AGAINST CETA
The London Chapter of the Council of Canadians is part of a dynamic and growing local Stop CETA campaign (website www.stopceta.ca). To find out more about the campaign or to get involved, write email@example.com. Contact the London Chapter at LondonChapter2012COC@yahoo.ca (website www.londoncouncilofcanadians.ca).
SAMPLE LETTER/TALKING POINTS FOR PHONE CONVERSATION
I'm calling/writing to you about the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which you'll be discussing at your May 1 council meeting. I understand you'll be making a decision whether or not to ask the Ontario government to exclude London from the deal in order to protect its spending and decision making powers.
I want you to know I fully support this motion. Cities like London need the freedom to be able to support local jobs and sometimes give a boost to local or regional businesses and industries when and where it makes sense. CETA takes away that option for the benefit of only the largest multinational suppliers and big business.
I am also very concerned that according to CETA documents leaked to the public in January, municipal government policy will not be fully protected from CETA. For example, no provincial government has excluded drinking water and wastewater services from their offers to the EU. Meanwhile, EU member states insisted on protecting the water sector.
Canadian municipalities will be vulnerable to trade and investment challenges by corporations who just want to increase their profits in water services and other municipal services. It doesn't make sense why Ontario would leave London open to challenge like that when the EU wants to protect these areas for its municipalities.
Once again, you have my full support for a total CETA exemption for London. I hope you vote for it on May 1. By doing so, London would join over 33 cities, towns, school boards or associations across Canada, including Hamilton, Stratford, Toronto, Mississauga, Oshawa and the Union of B.C. Municipalities, all hoping to be excluded from this bad deal.
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR LONDON CITY COUNCILLORS
To find out your ward, call City Hall or use the map: http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/City_Council/wardmap.htm. All members of city council can be reached by dialing the main number (519-661-2500) and the following extensions after the prompt.
Mayor Joe Fontana firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 4920
Ward 1 Councillor Bud Polhill email@example.com ext. 4882
Ward 2 Councillor Bill Armstrong firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 4943
Ward 3 Councillor Joe Swan email@example.com ext. 7015
Ward 4 Councillor Steve Orser firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 7012
Ward 5 Councillor Joni Baechler email@example.com ext. 2444
Ward 6 Councillor Nancy Branscombe firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 7014 ph. 519-432-1100
Ward 7 Councillor Matt Brown email@example.com ext. 4597
Ward 8 Councillor Paul Hubert firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 7016 cell: 519-851-5062
Ward 9 Councillor Dale Henderson email@example.com ext. 4880
Ward 10 Councillor Paul Van Meerbergen firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 1558
Ward 11 Councillor Denise Brown email@example.com ext. 6505
Ward 12 Councillor Harold Usher firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 4879
Ward 13 Councillor Judy Bryant email@example.com ext. 0370 cell: 226-448-8221
Ward 14 Councillor Sandy White firstname.lastname@example.org ext. 4876 cell: 226-688-9427