December 7th, 2011

Bungled trade deal will hurt health care system

NDP motion demands study of real impact of botched trade negotiations on health care costs

OTTAWA – Canadians are concerned about the consequences of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)for the public health care system and the ever-rising cost of prescription drugs. Unfortunately, the Conservative government has allowed little study into the real impact of CETA on Canadian families.

New Democrat MPs on the committee, Health Critic Libby Davies (Vancouver East), Deputy Critic Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Beauharnois—Salaberry), MP Dany Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord) and MP Djaouida Sellah (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert), are demanding the Standing Committee on Health examine the impact of a potential Canada-EU free trade agreement. The MPs have presented a motion that will be tabled this afternoon.

“We know that a trade agreement promoting deregulation is a threat to our public health care system. If government procurement is included in this agreement, some health services may even be privatized,” said Davies.

“Since 2009, Conservatives have been negotiating a trade deal with the EU behind closed doors and have refused to disclose what it will cost Canadians,” said Brian Masse (Windsor West), the Official Opposition critic for International Trade. “Conservatives must release the details of the agreement and protect the interests and health of Canadians.”

Quach added she is concerned about the consequences of the agreement on prescription drug costs. “Europe wants to extend the length of drug patents by at least 3 years, which would increase the cost of drugs and delay the entry of generic drugs onto the market,” said Quach. “This will further drain already stretched health budgets.”

New Democrats are urging the Conservative members of the committee to agree to this study so Canadians can understand how this agreement will impact them and their health, before the agreement is signed.