Canada-EU free-trade: Here's your briefing book. Don't leave it somewhere.

Highlights from the two-year (really-badly-)hidden agenda:

Joint communiqué from Canada’s prime minister and EU president Merkel after the Canada-EU summit, vowing to “study…a closer economic partnership.” “Leaders will review the results of this study at the 2008 Canada-EU Summit with a view to pursuing balanced and closer future EU-Canada economic integration.” That 2008 summit is today.

Column in Maclean’s by A. Fellow, dated Aug. 30, 2007, on Canada-E.U. free trade. “The Quebec premier is working closely with Ottawa to get the Europeans interested in a transatlantic, Canada-EU free trade accord. The payoff would be tremendous: guaranteed low-cost access to a European market of a half-billion people and an economy the size of the United States’; new investment; new workplaces for skilled Canadians overseas; new skilled manpower for labour-starved Canadian employers.”

Website of the Canada-Europe Roundtable for Business, featuring a “Declaration in support of a Canada-EU Trade and Investment Agreement signed by over 100 Canadian and European chief executives,” back in June, 2007;

Agenda for a two-day Public Policy Forum conference on Canada-EU trade this past May, featuring David Emerson, Jean Charest, and the EU representative in Canada, Dorian Prince. CBC radio had a reporter there for two days; CPAC filmed the whole shebang and filled at least one weekend with excerpts. Charest’s keynote address was widely covered. So was his birthday party afterward, which Stephen Harper crashed in an attempt to make nice.

Article in Le Devoir, Feb. 23 2008. Article in Le Devoir, June 1 2007. Op-ed by the head of the Conseil du Patronat du Québec, October 2007. Bulletin from the Monnet chair in European Studies at the Université de Montréal, May 2007, summarizing speech by Germany’s ambassador to Canada on progress toward a Canada-EU trade accord. A slew of stuff from the incredibly prolific Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

Yeah, this thing really came out of nowhere.

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