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The Tar Sands Trade Deal You’ve Never Heard of…

Dear CETA-beaters,

It’s been a busy UK Tar Sands Network fortnight. We have invaded a government office, been to Brussels to bother some trade negotiators, and launched a flashy (for us) new website, to keep you up to date with everything going on in the world of Tar Sands campaigning!

  1. Keep Europe Out of the Tar Sands! Part One: invading the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  2. Keep Europe Out of the Tar Sands! Part Two: taking our muscles to Brussels
  3. Vote BP!
  4. A shiny new No Tar Sands site!

Love and Belgian beer,

Sue, Jess and Emily.

1. Keep Europe Out of the Tar Sands! Part One: invading the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Canadian government and the European Union are currently ploughing ahead with one of the most ambitious free trade deals ever. Known as CETA, it threatens to make European oil companies like BP and Shell even more powerful, and could open up the European market to Tar Sands oil for the first time.  Boo! Yet no-one’s even heard of it…

So on Friday 14th January – just before the next round of trade talks kicked off in Brussels – the UK Tar Sands Network and our friends from London Rising Tide joined together as the “Big Society Trade Negotiators”, to advise the newly appointed Trade Minister (and former CEO of HSBC) to put the CETA negotiations on hold.

We invaded the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and demanded a meeting with Lord Green, holding a noisy teach-in about CETA in the lobby while we waited. He rather swiftly agreed to meet us at a later date. You can watch it all in glorious technicolour here.

2. Keep Europe Out of the Tar Sands! Part Two: taking our muscles to Brussels

Then we hopped on a Eurostar and went to the belly of the beast – the trade negotiations themselves. In Brussels on Monday 17th January we joined with a variety of groups including the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Council of Canadians, Friends of the Earth Europe, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Canadian National Farmers Association outside the CETA talks to voice a wide range of concerns – about tar sands, the privatisation of public services, water, agriculture, corporate power and democracy.

Some of our allies then spent the whole of last week in Brussels and Strasbourg, meeting MEPs and trade negotiators and making sure they were fully aware of the problems with CETA. It seems to have worked. Follow the story and see the media coverage on the Council of Canadians website.

3. Vote BP!

BP are currently in the running for a Worst Corporation of the Year award. Considering what they’ve been up to lately – Deepwater Horizon, going into the Tar Sands, deciding to drill in the Arctic – we think they thoroughly deserve it. But they’re currently in second place! So please vote now and show them what you think of them. You Can Vote Here!

4. A shiny new No Tar Sands site!

We have a new website www.no-tar-sands.org that we are really happy to have up! Check in regularly for campaign updates and stay tuned for the amazing short films, from our recent trip to the Tar Sands, that will keep popping up from our friends at You and I Films.

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