October 21, 2016
This is an open letter to Europeans and Canadians signed by 16 academics based in Canada who believe in the value for democracy and society in a more reasoned and balanced debate on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union
"For years, we have been reading and listening to the opponents of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Sadly, they have often engaged the public by offering assertions that misrepresent what CETA is and will do, if it ever enters into force. As a result, although their cries have to some degree contributed to making the agreement achieve a better balance between openness and democratic autonomy, CETA’s opponents have generally made it difficult for the Canadian and European publics to benefit from an enlightened debate about CETA’s pros and cons. Paradoxically, these are often the same people who talk about the lack of transparency and democratic involvement when it comes to CETA. Today, believing what we call CETA’s myths, a majority of Walloon parliamentarians in Belgium, who are supported by many others in other parts of the EU as well as Canada, is about to block CETA’s ratification.
We do not wish to tell people on what side of the debate they should stand. Yes, most of us, following our analyses of the agreement from different perspectives, are of the opinion that CETA is overall a good agreement for both Canadians and Europeans, even if it is by no means perfect (such agreements never are!). But as academics we feel it is our duty to refocus the discussions and debates on CETA by dispelling what we think are the most significant erroneous assertions about CETA.
Assertion #1: CETA will lead to net job losses!