It almost goes without saying that it is an egregious violation of the principles of liberal democratic governance that Canada-and the EU, apparently-are keeping the agreed, final text of the CETA a secret. I can only hope that NGOs somewhere are seeking it through access to information proceedings in both Canada and the EU.But in Canada's case its withholding of the text may violate its obligations to the United States and Mexico under NAFTA. While Article X of the GATT requires that only trade agreements in force be made public, Article 1802 goes considerably further. It requires that when possible a Party shall publish in advance any measure that it proposes to adopt "respecting any matter covered by this Agreement" and provide interested persons and Parties a reasonable opportunity to comment on such proposed measures.
There is no doubt that at this point in time the Harper government "proposes to adopt" the CETA and therefore the trigger for the obligation to publish in 1802 has now been met. Thereis also no doubt that the CETA text concerns matters covered by NAFTA-in fact there is enormous overlap in coverage. There is also no doubt that it is now "possible" to provide the text, since a final text for adoption exists in the phenomenological world.
That Canada is legally bound under the NAFTA to release the CETA text should strengthen the case under the internal access to information laws of Canada and theEU.