LIBERALS KEEP BRITISH COLUMBIANS IN THE DARK ABOUT PROBLEMATIC TRADE DEAL: DIX
VANCOUVER –With negotiations on the controversial Canada-European trade deal resuming today in Brussels, B.C. New Democrat leader Adrian Dix says Premier Christy Clark’s “open government” is keeping British Columbians in the dark about a trade deal that could increase prescription drug costs, undercut B.C. businesses, and open the door to privatizing water.
"After promising to seek public input, Premier Christy Clark is moving forward -- without any say from British Columbians -- on trade deal negotiations that will block our access to less expensive generic drugs, restrict municipalities from purchasing services and goods from local businesses, and put at risk public control of the water supply,” explained Dix.
In the legislature on June 1, Clark promised the public would be consulted about the trade deal. However, those consultations never materialized before a mid-June session in P.E.I. where B.C. Liberal government representatives met with other provinces to coordinate for the resumption of talks this week.
“The window for consultation has effectively remained closed, and there has been no disclosure from Christy Clark’s government about what's on the table and what positions our government is taking” said Dix.
Analysis from trade lawyers and drug experts warn that the deal has several negative implications for B.C. “Provincial drug costs are set to rise $249 million annually because the deal will block access to generics,” stated Dix. “The trade deal also threatens to remove the ability of local governments to use their purchasing power to generate jobs and reduce unemployment in local communities, and diversify regional economies.
“Local procurement is a key way for municipal and provincial governments to boost B.C. businesses and industry, and is particularly important in getting our economy back on steady footing,” emphasized Dix.
According to recent surveys, 60 per cent of B.C.’s municipalities have economic development strategies that include measures such as local procurement and local hiring.
CETA also could to provide huge European water companies the chance to push for B.C.’s public water system to be privatized.