A group of activists gathered nearby the office of MPP Chris Bentley (London West) on Wednesday evening with hopes of making a statement on ongoing CETA negotiations.
One portion of the CETA, or the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, includes an intellectual property contract between European Union and Canada.
Its merits are raising some eyebrows in the local community.
The London chapter of the Council of Canadians organized the rally, citing, in a press release, that the agreement “threatens our access to the Internet.”
“The current deals are more for the corporations than they are for the people,” London chapter spokesperson, Dre Aube, 27, said. “I don’t feel like that’s just.”
CETA could give corporations more power than ever before in the intellectual property realm, according to a leaked draft from the negotiations. Some blogs, as well as video and music streaming sites, may be shut down for infringement.
The rally, which consisted of about a dozen people, set up at the intersection of Commissioners and Wharncliffe Roads. Two similar peaceful protests occurred earlier this summer, both held near the constituency office of MP Ed Holder (London West).
Bentley, who was unable to greet the protestors due to a business commitment in Toronto, told Metro they are approaching the wrong people since the Ontario government’s hands are tied.
“Some of the issues being discussed are within provincial jurisdiction, but no agreement can be concluded without the federal government,” Bentley said. “The bottom line for me is that they should be expressing their views to the federal government.”
Another rally participant, Jennifer Chestnut, believes the issue deserves much more attention than it’s been given. She feels the impact could be monumental to everyday citizens.
“Typically trade is about trading goods, right? Well, not anymore,” Chestnut said. “It’s an extreme shift. Of course we want integrity and respect (on the Internet), but (implementing CETA) is not the way to do it.”
Aube notes the ultimate goal of the rallies is to create awareness, which will hopefully send a collective message to politicians.
“It does ultimately come down to what the higher-ups choose to do, but people can definitely lobby their MPPs and councilors,” she said. “We’re not completely powerless here.”
What is the CETA?
Proposed trade agreement between the European Union and Canada, which has drawn harsh criticism from some due to its similarities to the ACTA, a trade agreement recently rejected by the European Parliament