____Thursday October 13, 2016 ____

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Opinion & Accusations in Trade

After French MP and CETA critic denied entry, NFU asks “Is freedom of speech the victim of free trade?”

Montreal - On October 11, 2016, French farmer José Bové, who is a Member of the European Parliament and an outspoken critic of the Canada European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), was denied entry into Canada at the Montreal airport. No explanation for his detention has been given. The Council of Canadians had invited Bové to speak about the trade deal’s implications for agriculture. At the same event, Jan Slomp, President of the National Farmers Union (NFU) was to share his critique of CETA and call for an alternative approach to trade that would see economic prosperity generated from the grassroots up.

“We are deeply concerned that an elected representative of the European Parliament has been denied access to Canada, and thus denied the opportunity to express his opinion about the flaws in CETA,” said Slomp. “A strong democracy allows all information to be shared and all opinions to be heard. What is there in CETA that the authorities need to hide? Is freedom of speech now being sacrificed on the altar of free trade?”

“The text of CETA was concocted behind closed doors. Even Canada’s elected leaders were not given access to the text until late in the game,” noted Slomp. “José Bové would have provided the public with the information to show how CETA and other trade agreements are Trojan Horses that will wreak havoc if we let them in. CETA would hand foreign corporations the power and resources to prevent local, regional and national governments from democratically enacting laws to enhance or protect the social, economic and environmental well-being of our people.”

“We have to wonder why our government is so committed to preventing a full and open discussion of CETA that it would detain Bové at the Montreal airport,” said Slomp. “Has the anticipation of this trade agreement already put such chill on democracy? If our federal government ratifies CETA, do we now look forward to a country in which products move freely and people, ideas and democracy are blocked?”

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