Marois warns she may scuttle Canada-EU trade deal if Quebec not satisfied

Associated Press

LONDON - Premier Pauline Marois says her Parti Quebecois government could throw up roadblocks to a free-trade agreement between Canada and the European Union if it's deemed unsuitable for Quebec.

Marois told reporters in London today that such deals are another reason why Quebec needs to be sovereign.

Right now, the Canadian Constitution says only the federal government can sign trade deals with other countries.

Marois is warning Quebec could pass laws and regulations that would make it difficult to implement a Canada-EU treaty if it touches areas under provincial jurisdiction.

The federal government has been negotiating the treaty since 2008 and Ottawa has invited the provinces to weigh in on issues that touch their jurisdiction.

Sticking points in the negotiations include opening European beef and pork markets and respecting pharmaceutical patents.

Marois says issues such as supply management, which protects Canadian producers of milk, eggs and poultry, are vital to Quebec.

Federal International Trade Minister Ed Fast said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week that Ottawa wouldn't sign a deal unless it had obtained the consent of the provinces.

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