Canada’s already challenged public water systems are under threat from a broad free trade agreement being negotiated by Canada and the European Union (EU), says a report released today by the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Council of Canadians. The report (pdf) warns that public water in Canada will be lost unless the provinces and territories take immediate steps to remove water from the scope of the proposed Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
The report claims that CETA would open up public municipal water systems across Canada to privatization. At the request of Europe’s large private for-profit water corporations, provincial and territorial governments are considering including drinking water and wastewater services in their services commitments under CETA. They have been asked by the Harper government to make the final decision before a sixth round of CETA talks in Brussels this January.
“CETA is a water privatization deal,” says Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “Our public water is being negotiated away behind closed doors. We need to act now or we will wake up one morning and our public water systems will be gone.”