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Friday, July 13, 2012

For the Love of Canada, Stop CETA Rally Against Increased Medication Costs, July 11, 2012

Approximately twenty-five Londoners joined on Commissioners Road West outside of Ed Holder's office to participate in the first of a series of summer rallies to be organized around specific threats of CETA. Tonight's focussed on the concern raised in the joint University of Toronto and University of Calgary study that warns of a 2.8 billion dollar increase in drug costs annually out of the pockets of Canadians.

The rally was hosted by the stopCETA trade justice coalition and was attended by a diverse group of citizens from union folks to NDP and Green party candidates, artists, teachers, students, various public service workers and a few members of the local Occupy movement. Instead of chanting, we smiled and waved at the long lines of cars that were slowed in traffic along Commissioners. Literature such as the Council of Canadians Healthcare & CETA handbill was given through car windows. Many folks were honking but the favourite was the city bus driver honking most enthusiastically. The group held up signs that said messages like: For the love of Canada, stop CETA, and others about increases in prescription drug costs. One of the trade justice members silkscreened a banner about loving Canada, and of course, the CETApus was out with Roberta and Rory Cory.

Dre Aube was interviewed by London Community News, a local press, and on camera with CTV news about the drug costs issue. Jennifer Chesnut spoke also with CTV news about the local trade justice movement and national municipalities resolution movement and they asked to do a longer interview segment prior to the next rally. The group started planning for the second rally tonight which will focus on Investor State lawsuits from corporations and will take place on Wed. July 25, also outside of Ed Holder's office from 5 to 6pm. They intend, at minimum, to double our crowd. And, will continue with the style of business-attire rally to promote openess to demonstration in a city that is shy about it. London encourages local Council of Canadian chapters to come on down, share the message and spend some time building our networks together.
...... overall, we had a lot of fun and feel very good about the vibe that was created. Dre did a fab job on camera...

Below are the sound bites that we were working with:

CETA will force Canadians to pay 3 billion more a year on necessary medicine. High prescription drug prices are already a barrier to relief for millions of Canadians from pain of cancer to depression, and CETA will only make the situation worse. People living in Ontario will have to deal with the largest hike of about 1.3 million. Drugs are the fastest growing part of health care costs in Canada. Why would we agree to increase our drug costs further?

In CETA, the EU is demanding that we align with their system that favours brand-name pharmaceuticals and phases out the cheaper generic-label drugs. The 3 billion rise in drug costs annually is another example of why CETA is bad for Canadian people.

We are not against trade. We are against reckless trade contracts that favour transnational corporations over people’s health and community well-being. We do not think that a less than 1% increase in the Canadian GDP is a good enough reason to prevent Canadians from getting the medicines they need. CETA runs contrary to the Canadian Constitution that states in clause 36 that “the government of Canada and the provincial governments are committed to promoting equal opportunities for the well-being of Canadians, … and providing essential public services of reasonable quality to all Canadians.”

Nowhere in our constitution does it say that our well-being would best be taken care of by transnational corporations.

Notes: The study showing the drug increase of approximately 3 billion was a collaborative study by U of T and U of Calgary presented to the federal government.

Jennifer Chesnut, July 11, 2012

Stop CETA Rally, July 11, 2012 (Photos by Robert McMaster)