The Federation of Canadians Municipalities (FCM) meeting is taking place this weekend in Whistler and a resolution about international and internal trade agreements will be on the agenda. (To read that resolution, please scroll to the bottom of this post.)
The resolution addresses concerns raised by municipalities when British Columbia and Alberta signed the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) behind closed doors. Municipalities are also concerned about the impact of changes being made to the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT).
In BC and Alberta TILMA was fully implemented on April 1 of this year. Other interprovincial trade agreements are being proposed in Canada.
The provinces have recently agreed to modify the AIT after federal pressure to do so. This means that many of the policy changes that are being pursued under TILMA will apply to all of the provinces. In addition, the federal government is pursuing bilateral trade agreements with the European Union, Columbia and Peru that will continue to disempower communities here and around the globe.
These trade policies clearly fall on the side of corporations. The agreements restrict communities from developing socially and environmentally responsible policies if they impede the interests of corporations. Municipalities are being stripped of having democratic control of policy decisions while corporations are being provided with the opportunity to pursue a $5 million dollar fine if policy decisions are not in compliance with their interests.
As we are aware, the interests of communities are often in conflict with those of corporations. The use of Chapter 11 under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and agreements like TILMA only provide the tools to corporations to undermine the public interest. Under TILMA, municipalities are not even allowed to represent themselves if a dispute is brought forward against based on their policy decisions.
We encourage you to contact your municipal and regional representatives today and this weekend to let them know that you oppose new corporate rights agreements.
Be sure that your representatives are standing on the side of local democracy, the public interest, sound social and environmental policy and in opposition to corporate rule. Tell them to support the resolution (pasted below) and continue educating their communities about TILMA, the AIT and other trade agreements.
To find out more about TILMA and changes to the AIT visit the links below:
Council of Canadians Trade campaign:
Council of Canadians- Questioning the Ontario-Quebec Economic Partnership Agrement:
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) “State of Play- Internal Free Trade Agenda”:
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – “The Myth of Interprovincial Trade Barriers”:
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – “Transforming the Agreement on Internal Trade through binding enforcement”:
RESOLUTION FOR THE FEDERATION OF CANADIAN MUNICIPALITIES
Negotiations on Internal and International Trade and Security Agreements
WHEREAS local governments across the country have not had substantive opportunities to assess and respond to agreements such as the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP);
WHEREAS negotiations on internal and international trade and security agreements should be conducted in an open, public forum; and
WHEREAS these kinds of trade and security agreements can affect local government;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities advocate to the federal government for an open public consultation before negotiating any internal or international trade and security agreement, and that this consultation process include local government input, through FCM;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that FCM continue to research and monitor the potential effect of internal and international trade and security agreements on the local government sector.
City of Burnaby, British Columbia
City of Nelson, British Columbia
City of Trail, British Columbia
Union of British Columbia Municipalities