The Globe and Mail is reporting that the Conservatives will announce their commitment to completing new trade agreements with the European Union and India at an event this morning in Halifax. The focus on the EU deal – CETA – is noteworthy because there may be a divide between the parties on the inclusion of intellectual property within the deal. I posted earlier about an EU Commission study that found that the IP provisions would increase consumer prices – particularly for pharmaceutical products – and lead to more royalties leaving the country.
Days before the election call, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage released its report on CETA and ACTA. All three opposition parties supported the following recommendation:
The Committee calls on the Government of Canada to ensure that domestic copyright policies are not part of any present or future trade negotiations; that Canada’s commitments to the implementation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) are limited to the agreement’s focus on combating international counterfeiting and commercial piracy efforts; and that the Government of Canada retains the right to maintain domestic copyright policies that have been developed within the framework of its commitments to the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Berne Convention.
CETA covers a wide range of issues – everything from agriculture to telecommunications to copyright. The question for all four parties given the focus on CETA is where they stand on the inclusion of copyright within the deal, given its impact on Canadian culture and the Heritage committee recommendation.