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NEWS: More municipalities want exemption from CETA

Trade campaigner Stuart Trew

Trade campaigner Stuart Trew

Postmedia News reports, “As Canada and the European Union negotiate final details on a free-trade deal expected to be completed this year, dozens of communities across the country are voicing major concerns or seeking exemptions from the pact. …Dozens of cities and towns — including major centres such as Toronto, Mississauga and Hamilton in Ontario — have passed motions highlighting their concerns with the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), with many asking for permanent exemptions. Most of the communities are worried that provisions in the agreement on government procurement will restrict their decision-making capabilities and hurt their local economies. They want more details from the federal government and argue the trade deal could limit their abilities to adopt ‘buy local’ procurement policies, create jobs and enforce some environmental standards.”

“The City of Toronto overwhelmingly voted recently to have the Ontario government negotiate a permanent exemption from the trade agreement for the municipality. It also called on the provincial government to protect the powers of public agencies such as hospitals, school boards and universities. Just last week, Mississauga city council also voted to ask the provincial government for an exemption from CETA, which is the most significant trade deal Canada has negotiated since the North American Free Trade Agreement. Hamilton previously passed a similar resolution requesting an exemption from CETA. …Mayors in Atlantic Canada, meanwhile, last week complained they have been shut out of talks and demanded they be included in the discussions. They’re worried the trade pact could clash with long-established domestic procurement policies. …On the West Coast, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities has passed motions asking that local governments be exempted from CETA on government procurement, and also called on the provincial government to remove water services from any commitments.”

The Council of Canadians
“The Conservative government, however, says the provinces support it and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities recognizes the deal would produce economic benefits across Canada. …’It’s still not filtering into the public awareness that these resolutions are happening,’ said Stuart Trew, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians, a citizens group that has been fighting the agreement. ‘It will be difficult for the provinces to sell this agreement if they have ignored the will of important cities like Toronto and Hamilton.'” To work on your city passing a resolution exempting it from CETA, please use the Council of Canadians’ ‘CETA Tool Kit’ at http://canadians.org/ceta-resolution.