Canada-EU free-trade deal expected by 2011

MONTREAL — An ambitious free-trade deal between Canada and Europe could be reached by the end of 2011, a prominent former Quebec premier involved in the negotiations said Tuesday.

MONTREAL — An ambitious free-trade deal between Canada and Europe could be reached by the end of 2011, a prominent former Quebec premier involved in the negotiations said Tuesday.

Pierre Marc Johnson, who led the province Quebec for a short time in 1985, said negotiations are going well and that a deal may be reached sooner than later for reasons that may not seem completely obvious.

“There’s only so much energy that Europe can spend on this subject and it’s a matter of attention span,” he said after a speech to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations.

“This could actually happen faster than people think.”

Canada began negotiating a free-trade deal with the European Union last May. While most provinces are now at the negotiating table, Quebec took a leading role early on.

Slow to appreciate the benefits of a trade deal with Canada, European bureaucrats are now looking with great interest at Canada’s public market procurement system and a variety of other long-term strategic interests, Johnson said.

Jean Charest’s government last spring named the ex-Parti Quebecois premier its point man in the international talks.

Johnson foresees a wide-ranging agreement that goes beyond NAFTA since the provinces are at the negotiating table this time on matters of provincial and shared jurisdiction.

He expects the deal will address traditional trade barriers like tariffs and customs procedures as well as capital flow and investment.

Efforts are also underway to streamline product-specific regulations, like those related to the certification of forestry products or the size of mobile home panels.

The deal is expected to include provisions related to labour mobility and science and technology.

“I think the co-operative, the collaborative, the capital flows issues are just as important though as the strictly trade and tariff and barriers-related issues and that (the outcome) is difficult to anticipate.”

He hinted consensus between the federal government and the provinces may not be entirely necessary for the agreement to be signed.

“At the end of the day, the federal government will commit itself for Canada and the provinces will have to commit themselves for the provinces,” he said.

“Canada, at this point, has actually found a way to be sure that the commitments taken on issues of provincial jurisdiction will be possible.”

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

Dharmesh Goradia, and his daughter Vidhi and wife Chaitali, at the 2017 festival for the Godess Durga, held at the Golden Circle. (Photo contributed)
Draft curriculum misses the mark for central Alberta Hindu society

Meeting scheduled with Alberta Education officials

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Air Canada says it will recall more than 2,600 employees who were furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta’s tourism sector hurt by COVID-19 pandemic: ATB Financial

Between border closures, public health measures and hesitancy to travel, Alberta’s tourism… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Syringes are readied at a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, Friday, April 30, 2021 in Montreal. Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for Canada to donate some of its doses to other countries or international aid organizations and in at least three cases, for the doses to be resold.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada’s vaccine contracts allow for doses to be donated, in some cases resold

OTTAWA — Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for… Continue reading

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, responds to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Vancouver, on Monday June 3, 2019. As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Two sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

VANCOUVER — As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after… Continue reading

A woman sits and weeps at the scene of Sunday's hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Four members of a family in London, Ont., are set to be buried today. The public has been invited to help celebrate the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Funeral to be held today for London family killed in attack

LONDON, Ont. — Four members of a Muslim family killed in what… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden listen to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliver opening remarks at a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, United Kingdom Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau to discuss foreign policy with G7 leaders at second day of summit meeting

CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL, ENGLAND — Foreign policy is on the agenda for… Continue reading

Most Read