If you’re any consistent reader of Halitrax, you might be tired of this common refrain: I want to (insert idea for positive change) but I don’t know where to start.
The idea for positive change this week, activism.
We all have opinions. Some of which have been outlined on this here blog. If you want to access political culture, there are organizations to choose from (officially recognized or not).* Especially in Halifax.
So why would anyone have trouble getting politically involved? That question is perhaps too complicated to address here. Personally, I find myself either intimidated or blasé. Don’t get me wrong, I read and vote while holding strong opinions. But as for publicly expressing those opinions at city council meetings, letters to the editor, or rallies, mum’s the word.
Like a good writer, I will relate my dilemma to a specific instance. CETA, or the Canadian-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, has come into the public eye. This exposure, I will suppose, is in part because of the publicity tour led by CUPE and Maude Barlow.
Proponents of this free trade agreement claim job growth and technological advancements are on the horizon. Detractors claim that CETA will open all levels of government to a corporate bidding war. I’ve read and listened. It has been difficult to get a clear shot of what will come of the agreement. But I remain worried.
I would favour a certain level of protectionism over free trade. CETA has been compared to NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and you know how I feel about deregulation.
I think people, including myself, need to be better informed, regardless of political affiliation. While the federal government heralds the dawn of a new era, the EU is making very real demands that will impact Canadian government and resources. The consequences being great enough that the Union of British Columbia Municipalities requested “…that the provincial government negotiate a clear, permanent exemption for local governments from the CETA.”** They fear losing control of public services and increasing pressure from privatization interests.
Getting back to my original point, so far I have taken no action against the CETA negotiations. I’ve researched and discussed with friends. But I have not expressed my opinion to the decision makers.
Now I will, and you can too! Here is the contact information for the CETA authority in Canadian government. Contact any level of government. Get more information, express your opinion, whatever. I do believe this is serious business.
Trade Negotiations II Division (TPW)
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 promenade Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0G2
*I realize this doesn’t demonstrate the ‘full spectrum’ of political views, but I feel the right has enough clout as it is.