The Winnipeg Free Press reports that, “While most of the business community encourages Manitoba to negotiate its way into the New West Partnership, labour interests are not as keen.”
“‘This agreement does not level the playing field,’ said Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour. ‘There are very few examples that interprovincial trade barrier actually exists. To have an agreement that overrides other legislative abilities of governments to govern seems irresponsible.'”
“The MFL was reacting to news that Manitoba is in discussions to join the western economic alliance signed in April between Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.”
“Rebeck argues that joining the western partnership would limit Manitoba’s flexibility, for instance on issues such as northern and aboriginal hiring preferences on certain projects. He also said that what are often referred to as trade barriers are really just different regulatory environments on things such as government procurement systems, labour standards, consumer-protection measures, environmental regulations, and taxes.”
“In a statement the MFL released on Thursday along with the Council of Canadians warning Manitoba to stay away from the New West Partnership, they argued, among other things, that the agreement would harmonize regulations down to the weakest level in the region and prohibit support for local economic development.”
The article can be read at http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/labour-balks-at-joining-new-west-111655084.html.
The Council of Canadians media release on this can be read at http://canadians.org/media/trade/2010/09-Dec-10.html.