Volume 94, Issue 96

Thursday, March 22, 2001


Report takes schools to task

Mixed reviews for club caravan

FTAA hits home: Local activists joing forces

Mark Serre bids Western adieu

"Foxy" Western students make it big in the entrepreneurial world


Planet Me

FTAA hits home: Local activists joing forces

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

Preparations to protest the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Quebec City are taking shape across the Western and London community.

The conference and negotiations for the Free Trade Area of the Americas are set to take place between Apr. 19 and 21 in Quebec City. The meeting will be attended by the leaders of 34 nations, who will work towards a comprehensive free-trade zone across North and South America.

The London Coalition for Global Justice, composed of individuals and organizations concerned with the FTAA's impact on Canada, are holding a "scarf day" unity rally on Apr. 2, said organizer Elisabeth Antunes. The London rally will begin at 4 p.m. in front of the Federal Building at Queen's Ave. and Talbot St., and will be held in conjunction with similar rallies planned in major cities across Canada, she said.

The "scarf day" theme relates to the passing of a by-law by the city councils of Saint-Foy and Quebec City, which banned the wearing of scarves during the two weeks preceding the FTAA protest, she said, adding the by-law was later rescinded.

Bus transportation to Quebec City is also being organized by the LCGJ, said Jesse Greener, the VP-external for Western's Society of Graduate Students.

"The FTAA could lead to the privatization of universities and student funding programs," he said. "It can affect everything from environment, to utilities, to health care."

Greener said local events will also take place to compliment those in Quebec, to allow those who cannot make the journey to express their views.

On Apr. 21 an anti-FTAA festival is set to take place in London's Covent Garden Market, which will feature music, food and information, in an effort to increase local public awareness.

"People need to be aware of the potential ramifications the FTAA can have for our society, economy and lives," Greener said.

Gil Warren, president of the London District Labour Council, said labour organizations and other concerned groups, are outraged at the lack of public information, public consultations, and parliamentary debate the Canadian government has provided on the upcoming negotiations. "We're being asked to buy into something we know nothing about," he said.

Natalie Debué, a spokesperson for the Deapartment of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, said Canadian citizens can expect a public report on the FTAA initiative following the summit. "We're looking to enhance market access to the Americas," she said of the trade deal.

Sgt. Normand Houle, a spokesperson for the Summit of Americas security division, said security forces were there to protect the delegates, but did not disagree with an individual's right to protest.

He said student protesters would not be treated any differently if they become involved in unlawful protest tactics.

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