On October 3, the Township of Spallumcheen, B.C. passed a resolution demanding that municipalities be excluded from the Canada-EU free trade agreement (CETA). Councillors unanimously approved the resolution after a presentation on the impacts CETA will have on municipalities by concerned residents Lorna Carter, Morgan Price, Judy Stockdale, Wanda Bristol and Mary Henderson. By doing so, Spallumcheen joined dozens of cities and towns across Canada whose elected leaders can see through the hollow promises of the federal and provincial governments with respect to procurement commitments in the EU deal.
Spallumcheen is in the North Okanagan Valley between Vernon and Salmon Arm. According to Lorna, three of the town’s councillors had just returned from the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver, which took place at the end of September. Last year the UBCM adopted as official policy a stance that municipalities should not be included in the CETA negotiations. This is in contrast to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which has accepted Harper government promises that the benefits from CETA will outweigh any losses of economic policy space or democratic autonomy for municipalities.
At this year’s convention, the UBCM went further by endorsing a resolution from the District of Kent “to remove water services from any commitments under the proposed Canada-EU CETA.” The Kent motion, which states “the inclusion of water services in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement(CETA) would undermine the public control and accountability of these vital assets,” also calls on the FCM to take this stance with respect to the federal government.
We’ll be following up with the UBCM to see how the Province of B.C. responds to these positions on CETA, which the current Liberal government of Christy Clark strongly endorses.
To pass a resolution in your community, consult our guide to why “Municipalities need a Say on CETA.”
To help talk about the impacts CETA will have on water services such as drinking water and sanitation, see our Action Alert here.