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VIEW: ‘Buy America deal should be subject of public hearings’, says the Toronto Star

The Toronto Star editorial board writes today that, “The ‘Buy America’ deal between Ottawa and Washington is either ‘a very, very important step forward’ (Prime Minister Stephen Harper), or ‘a bad deal’ (Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians)…”

“Behind these statements are more than just differences of opinion based on the same information. The various governments championing the deal and the interest groups opposed to it cannot even agree on the facts.”

“On the Star‘s opinion page last Friday, Scott Sinclair of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives wrote that ‘Canadian businesses will get to compete for no more than $4 billion to $5 billion (U.S.) worth of projects,’ whereas American suppliers will have access to $25 billion (Canadian) in procurement on this side of the border.”

“Federal Trade Minister Peter Van Loan says such figures are ‘highly speculative.’ He believes the deal is balanced but there are so many potential contracts and sub-contracts involved that ‘anybody who pretends to know (the outcome) is pretending to know the impossible.’ Maybe so. But the principles involved in this deal are too important and the long-range implications too enormous to accept governmental assurances at face value.”

The Toronto Star, the largest circulation newspaper in the country, concludes, “The deal ought to be the subject of public hearings, in both Parliament and the provincial legislatures.”

The full editorial is at http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/768482–buy-america-deal-requires-scrutiny.