Free Trade Agreements Attack Democracy And Human Rights

By Michäel Lessard, Huffington Post Canada, 25 August 2014

On August 21, the first day of the Peoples Social Forum at the University of Ottawa, a conference discussed a very current issue: the "free trade" agreement between Canada and the European Union. Six representatives of prominent civil organizations (provincial, federal and international) were heard, of which three are based in Quebec.

These spokespersons consider that these agreements do not truly seek to improve trade between countries, but instead are considered treaties that give new special rights to corporations, which undermine the democratic rights of peoples. (...)

Scott Harris (Trade Justice Network) denounces what is judged as antidemocratic processes. The negotiations do not allow any citizen participation. In fact, even federal MPs are excluded from the negotiations and are kept as far away as possible from the texts. Certain interested corporations are said to have received privileged information according to Mr.Harris.

"They have realized that the more people have access to the texts of these agreements, the more the people criticize and denounce them," analyzes Harris. (...)

According to the speakers, if the anti-democratic mechanisms are exposed or presented to the public, these agreements will not pass, at least if grassroots resistance is offered. (...)

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Photo: Michäel Lessard