Food costs are going up. Gas prices are going up. Put the two things together and we have a strong reason to buy local food.
However, in an article in the magazine Alternatives, I read that there is a trade agreement being negotiated that means "schools, hospitals, universities and municipalities will be prohibited from favouring local goods and services, including local foods."
This bothered me. In the federal government website, I got the following information:
"Canada and the European Union (EU) have completed the ninth round of negotiations toward a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Canada and the EU are committed to building on the success of negotiations thus far, where significant progress has been made across the board, including the areas of goods, services, investment, government procurement and many others. ...The parties are committed to resisting protectionist pressures in challenging economic times, and are seeking to achieve an ambitious outcome across all negotiating areas. The Government of Canada has made the CETA negotiations a priority in its international trade agenda. ...Both Canada and the EU are committed to maintaining the momentum of the negotiations thus far with the aim of concluding in 2012."
Then as a contrast, I went on the Council of Canadians website and got the following:
"CETA is a comprehensive free trade agreement that would eliminate most tariffs between Canada and the EU while reaching “behind the border” to change non-trade related government policies that affect business profits. ...Negotiations began in May 2009. .. A growing number of municipalities, school boards and municipal associations have raised concerns about CETA’s procurement chapter. Most of them want to see the municipal sector excluded entirely from the deal. In total, more than 30 cities, towns, school boards and municipal associations in eight provinces have passed resolutions on CETA."
This website had five reasons why CETA is not good for Canada:
1. Our Water: Europe is home to the largest water corporations in the world who can only expand when public utilities are privatized. CETA would limit how our governments regulate the profit-making activities of private water corporations, give multinational water companies unprecedented access to our drinking water services and maybe even a claim to our precious water itself.
2. Our environment: The CETA will allow transnational corporations to ignore or challenge our existing environmental regulations, and make it much harder for our governments to create new ones. It will also encourage more extraction, production and trade, all of which increase greenhouse gas emissions...
3. Our jobs: It would allow European corporations unrestricted access to the purchasing contracts of our governments. So instead of purchasing the goods and services they need from local companies, and therefore boosting job creation in our local communities, our governments may be forced to use our tax dollars to create jobs and business opportunities in Europe instead!
4. Our medicare: The EU wants all of our public services covered by the CETA – including health care. This will expose our medicare to even more privatization pressures than past free trade deals did. Other CETA reforms mean higher generic drug costs. Since drug costs are the leading cause of increased health care budgets across the country, it will threaten the sustainability of our public system.
5. Our democratic rights: Our elected governments should be able to regulate on our behalf, make policies and decisions in the public interest, and use our tax dollars to support local economies when needed. If the CETA trade rules put corporate and investor rights first, then it is a fundamental threat to our democratic system!
I have realized I have missed any media reports about this. Have I had my head in the sand or is nothing being said? Check it out, folks.