Liberals cancel discussions on European trade agreement (CETA)

August 29, 2014

(Halifax, NS) NDP MLA Dave Wilson wants to know why the Liberals are avoiding discussions about the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). In April it was widely reported that Stephen McNeil wants Nova Scotia to be ‘first through the door’ when CETA comes into effect.

Wilson says the Premier’s statement wasn’t genuine if the Liberals won’t allow the Economic Development Committee to discuss the trade agreement until it is ratified which could be several months or even years from now. The Liberals originally requested the topic but have now changed their mind.

“Many people are concerned about the impacts of CETA and for others it’s a huge opportunity,” said Wilson. “Either way, now is not the time for the Liberal government to be avoiding the topic. The province needs to start preparing to address the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities. Economic Development Committee members need to hear what the government is doing.”

Wilson was responding to an email the NDP caucus received earlier this week announcing the September 4, 2014 Economic Development Committee meeting to discuss CETA was being cancelled. He says the chair of the committee, Joachim Stroink, had attempted to change the agenda from CETA to another topic and when the NDP caucus disagreed he cancelled the meeting.

“We are surprised Mr. Stroink and the government are not prepared to allow Nova Scotians to better understand what the risks and opportunities associated with CETA are for our province,” said Wilson.

In July, Stroink, in his role as chair of the Economic Development Committee, joined Premier Stephen McNeil on an 8-day trip to England, Scotland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany to enhance trade links and encourage foreign investment. 

“Having had the personal privilege of traveling to Europe to gather information about economic development and trade, it’s disappointing Mr. Stroink and the government are denying Nova Scotians the opportunity to benefit from information about this important initiative. Nova Scotians are gaining nothing from the Liberal’s wait and see approach to this issue.”