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NEWS: Nelson city council to vote on CETA resolution tonight

The Nelson Star reports, “Nelson city council will consider requesting it be exempt from an international trade agreement (the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) that could give European companies the ability to bid on Nelson’s high-value service and construction contracts that go out for public tender. …Councillor Candace Batycki, at the request of interested residents, brought a notice of motion regarding the CETA exception to council’s committee of the whole meeting last week, to give council a chance to discuss and gather information on the motion before the next council meeting (on Monday February 4 beginning at 7 pm PT) when it will be formally voted on.”

“Batycki asked Sandra Nelken and Pegasis McGauley of the Nelson Chapter of the Council of Canadians to explain their concern with the trade agreement. They pointed to leaked documents obtained by Quebec media last November that suggest the agreement would make it illegal to give local companies preference on municipal contracts and open the door for international corporations to launch lawsuits against municipalities if anything was done to limit their access to the contract. They also suggested Nelson should be calling on the federal government to be more transparent in the negotiations and engage in consultation with municipalities.”

Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew has stated, “More than 40 local governments want the Harper government to stop gambling with their futures through CETA. Another 30 to 40 municipal councils, school boards or associations have asked for more information and a greater say in the CETA negotiations.”

Trew also notes, “In a leaked CETA ‘landing zone’ document dated November 6, 2012, the European Commission calls Canada’s public procurement offer ‘highly satisfactory’ and ‘the most ambitious and comprehensive offer Canada and its provinces have made to any partner, including the US’. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has issued a set of conditions it feels must be met in CETA’s procurement chapter. These include reasonable procurement thresholds, protection for strategic sectors such as transit or energy, and ‘progressive enforcement’, meaning cities would get a verbal warning before financial penalties are imposed in the event a public tender is found to have violated the agreement. The newly leaked documents show that the FCM conditions on local content for strategic sectors may not have been met. The leaked document also shows the EU continues to push to include energy, to ban local content rules on transit systems (subways, bus, etc), and to ban local development benefits in public spending.”

The Nelson Star article is at http://www.nelsonstar.com/news/189282851.html. For more on the Council of Canadians campaign to have municipal resolutions passed in opposition to CETA, please go to http://canadians.org/action/2012/CETA-resolution.html.