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NEWS: Council of Canadians to hold public forums on foreign trade zones in BC

Cathy Wilander

Cathy Wilander

The Delta Optimist reports, “What will be the impact if a foreign trade zone is established at Deltaport? This question and others will be explored in a special presentation on Wednesday, June 29 at 7 p.m. at the Ladner Pioneer Library sponsored by the Delta chapter of the Council of Canadians. All are welcome. The provincial government released a request for proposal in February to conduct a feasibility study for a B.C. Foreign Trade Zone Program. These zones will be explored across the province with a specific proposal being developed within the Pacific Gateway Strategy.”

Council of Canadians Delta chapter spokesperson Cathy Wilander says, “Foreign trade zones are also referred to as free trade zones or economic trade zones in other places. Governments section off land to create special investment climates for business and industry. What this usually means is the opportunity to do business without environmental and social policies/labour regulations to restrict corporations and business. We need to be aware of what the environmental and social cost to our community will be if a zone is established at Deltaport. How much farmland will be lost, who will protect workers’ rights, what will what will be the cost to the surrounding marine environment, how much more pollution will be created and what will be the impact on migratory birds and other wildlife? We will look at what we can do to stop this. We need to protect our community. There is nothing free about a free trade zone.”

A public forum will also be held on Tuesday June 28 at 7 pm at the Vancouver Community College, Downtown Campus, Room 420, at the corner of Dunsmuir Street and Hamilton Street.

A Global TV report in mid-May said that the consultant hired by the BC government to conduct the study will have just four months to report on the advisability of a foreign trade zone in British Columbia. It’s unclear, but that could mean as soon as mid-September.

For recent campaign blogs on this issue, please go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=8218 and http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=7924.