The Guardian | 27 September 2015
CETA deal "rigs the game," says P.E.I. producers
An incoming trade agreement between Canada and the European Union is a case of "rigging the game" against local producers and democracy, says a group of P.E.I. activists.
A short skit called "CETA BALL: What if They Played Football by CETA Rules" held at the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market this weekend grilled the Canada-Europe Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement in a sports-focused parody.
Jordan MacPhee and Rob Thomson played the role of two announcers giving details on a fictional game between voters and the "Corporate Buccaneers."
"This CETA football is supposed to be about scoring, but it looks like these new rules are just making it so the Corporate Buccaneers’ victory is already in place," said MacPhee during one part of the colourful skit.
One part in the fictional game saw a Joey "Barn Door" Gallant move the ball up the line.
"He’s trying to get benefits for Islanders for a wind energy company, but we know that isn’t allowed in the rules, so he’s brought down after a seven yard carry," said Thomson.
While the skit was largely light-hearted, the trade agreement was clearly not fun and games for those who feel they’ll be affected by the deal.
Rosalind Waters said the skit was put together by a coalition of 21 P.E.I. community groups and the performance was held on the one-year anniversary of the release of the full text of CETA.
Critics have said the agreement has the potential to increase the power of large multi-national corporations at the expense of local businesses and producers.
Waters said the skit was held in solidarity with other demonstrations this weekend across both Canada and Europe.
She said that showing opposition to the agreement in a humorous way was necessary to connect with a bigger audience.
"With the word ’trade,’ sometimes people haze over it. So we thought it was really important to bring it alive," said Waters.
The location of the Farmer’s Market was also fitting, with many feeling that the agreement will prevent local governments from developing "buy local" policies by legally having to offer European corporations the ability to bid on tendered contracts.
Giving preference to local producers could also lead to European corporations being able to sue the Canadian government.
MacPhee, who operates Maple Bloom Farms outside of Montague, said that is a heavy concern for small-scale producers like himself.
"We just want to prevent anything that would keep the Island government from making policies that help our own economy," said MacPhee. "It’s not about trade. It’s giving companies not only the ability to undercut, but also the ability to sue the government if it gives preference to local producers."
Waters said more information about CETA can be found on the Facebook page Islanders against CETA.