Skip to content

NEWS: Municipalities seek exemptions from CETA

Postmedia News reports in newspapers across the country today that, “Canada is facing mounting pressure from two opposing forces as it prepares for the next round of negotiations later this month on a comprehensive Canada-European Union free-trade agreement.”

“Business interests on both sides of the Atlantic are pushing the federal and provincial governments to come up with a serious offer in response to Europe’s top demand — access to the lucrative business of federal, provincial and municipal government procurement of goods and services. But Canadian municipalities are among the groups voicing concerns about the implications of opening up bidding on major government or Crown corporation contracts in areas such as power generation, city transportation, hospital equipment and water-treatment plants.”

FEDERATION OF CANADIAN MUNICIPALITIES – “The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, in a letter to International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan last month, urged the federal government to find ways to at least partly shield cities from rules that would deny them the ability to favour local companies.” FCM president Hans Cunningham wrote, “A trade deal must recognize strategic and public interest considerations before barring preferential treatment based on country of origin. Within a specific region, industries of strategic significance may exist: transit, or projects where considerations of quality, public benefit, environmental protection or business ethics require local government to implement minimum Canadian-content levels.”

UNION OF BC MUNICIPALITIES – “The Union of B.C. Municipalities went even further at its convention last month, passing a resolution asking that municipalities receive a ‘clear, permanent exemption’ from the deal.” More on that at

“Adrian Van Den Hoven, spokesman for the Brussels-based lobby group Business Europe, said he was told by the EU that it expects an imminent Canadian offer on procurement. But a Canadian negotiator said it’s not yet clear if one will be tabled when talks take place during the week of October 18-22. But he said a formal proposal will go to the Europeans ‘certainly’ by December, a month before the next round of talks. If Prime Minister Stephen Harper and provincial premiers cave in to municipal demands ‘that’s not going to go down well (in Brussels), I’m afraid,’ said Brussels-based policy analyst Hosuk Lee-Makiyama. …EU officials said it would be difficult to imagine a deal without a significant agreement on procurement, while (Canada Europe Roundtable executive director Jason) Langrish said the municipalities are on shaky political ground if they’re seeking to protect local jobs. ‘Why should the taxpayer be asked to subsidize these jobs?’ Langrish asked. ‘Shouldn’t the taxpayers get the most competition, which produces the best option at lower prices?'”

Read the full article at