Scotland being dragged into corporate power grab by Government happy for big business to call the shots
Mark Ruskell MSP, Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (15 Feb) warned that the approval of the controversial EU-Canada trade deal known as CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) could make fracking in Scotland more likely.
The European Parliament voted to ratify the deal today. It will allow transnational companies to sue governments over perceived impacts on future profits. Such powers have been used in Australia by the tobacco industry, in Mexico by fizzy drinks manufacturers and in Canada by a fracking company opposed the drilling moratorium in Quebec.
Last year, Mark Ruskell raised concerns about CETA with the First Minister, after discovering that NHS Scotland has not been specifically listed as being exempt, potentially leaving it open to commercial entry. The deal also undermines the status of exports such as Scotch beef and lamb, Stornoway black pudding and Arbroath smokies.
Mark Ruskell, Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Mid Scotland & Fife, said:
"Scotland is being dragged into this corporate power grab by a right-wing UK Government that is happy for big business to call the shots. It's hardly a surprise that a government hell-bent on an economically devastating Brexit doesn't care about the environmental protections, food safety and workers' rights that CETA threatens to sweep away.
"Ruth Davidson’s Tory colleagues at Westminster have prevented a parliamentary debate on this issue. At Holyrood, Green MSPs have consistently raised CETA with Scottish Ministers, who in turn have made representations to UK counterparts.
"The Scottish Government must publish its impact assessment and lay out measures it can take to protect our economy and our environment. We are close to killing off fracking in Scotland for good, and the last thing we need is for CETA to give drilling firms renewed hope."
Mark has submitted 2 motions and 13 questions on CETA since June 2016 – all motions and questions can be found here.
On the 27th October the following amendment and subsequent motion was passed in the chamber during the Scottish Government’s Environment and Climate Change (European Union Referendum) debate – SNP, Labour and Greens all supported it;
Motion S5M-02125.3: Mark Ruskell, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 26/10/2016 Environment and Climate Change (European Union Referendum) As an amendment to motion S5M-02125 in the name of Roseanna Cunningham (Environment and Climate Change (European Union Referendum)), after “trade negotiations;” insert “notes that, like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the final Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) text contains an arbitration court that sits outside of the domestic court system and is only accessible to foreign investors, mechanisms that might create a downward pressure on environmental regulations and risks to public service provision; believes that the passing of CETA might result in significant negative implications for environmental protection in Scotland; calls therefore on the UK Government to act to address these concerns;”.