Editor: Trade is important to Canada and P.E.I. But, to enter into trade agreements based on misleading information is unwise and possibly foolish. On January 10, Rob Moore, Minister of State for ACOA, once again stated the official federal government propaganda on the benefits of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) to the local Chamber of Commerce. The two commonly reported are $12 billion annual boost to the Canadian economy and 80,000 new jobs. These are simply not true. They are benefits based on computer models with very unrealistic assumptions. Everyone knows models can be made to say whatever the designers want them to say. In this case, the models were developed by a joint report commissioned by the European Union and the government of Canada to promote the CETA agreement.
The assumptions in the model include, among others, full employment, balanced trade and a perfectly functioning market place. If you can find this in the real economy, I would like to know about it. The reality is that Canada has a significant trade deficit ($19 billion in goods and services) with Europe. We import much more than we export. The same joint report also predicts that imports from the EU will be twice as much as we export therefore increasing our trade deficit. Trade deficits usually go together with overall job losses, lower GDP, and a weaker economy.
The assessment of realistic gains and losses within CETA needs to be part of the public debate. There is much in this agreement which is of concern. The secrecy in which it has been cloaked is not in keeping with our democratic processes. It must come out from underneath the covers and be subject to a sound analysis and public input.