MPs vote through anti-democratic CETA trade deal whilst Labour look the other away
By TruePublica Editor: Not very high on the list of important stuff to report by the mainstream media was the fact that Parliament passed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU by a vote of 315 to 36 last week. The Labour Party abstained. Well done them. It appears they like abstaining or hiding from some of the most important economic decisions the country faces – not least Brexit.
Quite bizarrely, those with some idea of the thinking behind Labour’s justification of abstaining was on the grounds that Labour is on the one-hand pro-trade but on the other, had reservations about the deal. They think they can renegotiate these deals in government. They aren’t in government and might not be next time around. And even if they are – does Labour really think the country would want to see all 41 trade agreements renegotiated after the first round of chaotic negotiations by Theresa May’s mob of undecided that drained the patience of everyone for god knows how many years to come? I don’t think so.
Here is what some of Labour’s best friends said about the CETA deal just last week:
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- It threatens our democracy by undermining the right of parliament and the public to decide on laws and policies in the public interest
- It could introduce a system of secret ‘corporate courts’, giving big business the power to sue states for policies they say could affect their profits
- Like TTIP, its failed US-EU counterpart, CETA would weaken social, health and environmental standards
- CETA could make it impossible to re-nationalise privatised services like utilities and railways
- Rejecting the deal would allow MPs to develop an alternative based on transparency, democracy and fairness
Ruth Bergan, director of the Trade Justice Movement, says:
“The EU-Canada trade deal will impact on all areas of everyday life. Tabling a vote on it now is a travesty of democracy. There has been no proper process in the UK for public engagement and MPs have not had sufficient input. A vote in favour would leave us with a template trade deal before we have even sorted out the basic principles for UK trade policy.”
Asad Rehman, executive director of War on Want, says:
“If CETA passes through parliament today, it will be a nail in the coffin of British democracy. Our message to MPs is clear: vote no to CETA. Do it for our public services, for our economy, so we can eat safe food and breathe clean air. That’s what it means to take back control.”
Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, says:
“Secret talks, corporate courts, and almost no scrutiny in parliament – CETA is exactly the kind of trade deal Liam Fox would love to sign after Brexit. MPs should seize the chance to make this PR stunt backfire: reject CETA, and demand the automatic right to vote on trade deals in future. Otherwise, it could be the last trade deal they ever vote on.”
Kierra Box, Brexit campaigner at Friends of the Earth, says:
“This dodgy deal threatens our health, our human rights and our environment. Soon, the government could be negotiating hundreds of new deals around the world, so we must be confident that they can do it right. This is their chance to show that they can deliver a transparent process and a deal that puts people and the planet first.”
The statement calling on MPs to vote against the deal has been signed by UNISON, GMB, Friends of the Earth, SumOfUs, Global Justice Now, Trade Justice Movement, Trade Justice Scotland, Banana Link, Labour Behind the Label, National Justice & Peace Network and War on Want.
The result? All those things their friends warned would happen – will now happen! Probably.
As for Brexit – there are lots of calls to “get on with it” – but neither Labour nor the Conservatives have quite decided what ‘IT’ should look like. Should it fundamentally be an exercise in damage limitation or what some might think is an attempt to redraw Britain’s role in the world?
Like many, I’m still scratching my head on this one and think both parties have no real idea what they are doing – still.