OTTAWA, Sept. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - The Council of Canadians is encouraged by
the strong criticisms of the Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement
raised yesterday by municipal representatives at the annual convention of the
Union of British Columbia Municipalities in Vancouver.
The disapproval expressed at a pre-convention workshop on TILMA could
lead to a critical vote this Wednesday against the controversial deal
according to Carleen Pickard, B.C. spokesperson for the Council of Canadians,
who is attending the convention this week.
"During a three-hour session on TILMA, the Minister of Economic
Development, Colin Hansen, was unable to answer a basic question- What is the
benefit of TILMA for municipalities?" said Pickard. "Councilors are not
feeling confident about the Agreement and the Minister's inability to justify
it will only strengthen the call for a permanent exemption for local
governments from TILMA."
TILMA will be put to the test this Wednesday, when representatives vote
on a landmark resolution calling for the UBCM "to enter into discussions with
the provincial government and local governments with the intent of either
making changes to the agreement to more specifically address local government
concerns, exempt local governments from the agreement, or request that the
province withdraw from the agreement altogether."
Local governments across BC have sent 80 letters of concern to the UBCM
about the Agreement, and 10 resolutions on TILMA have been put forward to this
meeting, making it one of this year's key issues at the UBCM.
Issues of concern raised by local governments were supported by UBCM
lawyer Don Lidstone and included thresholds for purchasing, restrictions on
the ability of local governments to give out subsidies and grants, and
potential obstructions to local initiatives to protect the environment.
Councilors also raised concerns about the vague and undefined nature of TILMA,
the lack of precedent around dispute panel decisions, and mixed messages from
the government about the Agreement.
For further information:
For further information: Carleen Pickard, B.C. regional organizer for
the Council, (604) 340-2455