CETA: Why Isn’t Anybody Talking About It?

21 07 2011

When Canada’s premiers gather in Vancouver next week, it’s hard to imagine that the subject of trade talks with the European Union won’t come up. The potential ramifications of any deal for the provinces are enormous. And yet there has been little discussion in Canada about the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which is perplexing given the far-reaching implications for this country of any pact with the EU.

That’s from a recent article in the Globe and Mail. I’m shocked and somewhat appalled by how little attention has been paid to the CETA agreement. It’s not that I dislike the agreement (far from it!), but I do think that the media has done the publics of Canada and Europe a disservice by not covering what could be an important turning point in Canadian history.

My frustration at the lack of attention to CETA is one of the reasons why I decided to organize a one-day conference on CETA. It’s going to take place on 18 November 2011 in London and is called “CETA and Canada-EU Economic Linkages in the 21st Century”.  The conference is designed to bring together academics, journalists, and others interested in this proposed agreement.

Our confirmed speakers are: Robert Hage, DFAIT (retired); Patrick Leblond (University of Ottawa); John M. Curtis  (now at CIGI, formerly Chief Economist of the Canadian Dept of Foreign Affairs and International Trade) ; Kurt Hübner (UBC).

The lead organizer of this conference is Michael Kandiah at King’s College within the University of London.  Michael’s research specialty is modern British political and diplomatic history. His prefered research methodology is oral history. He has done work on such topics as the history of the British Conservative party under Thatcher and the 1976 IMF bailout of the UK.

P.S. Check out this interesting article, which argues that one of the possible results of this agreement would be the elimination of interprovincial trade barriers within Canada.

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