Hansen statements on TILMA inaccurate, says Gould



    BURNABY, April 27 /CNW/ - Statements made by Economic Development
Minister Colin Hansen about the Trade, Investment, and Labour Mobility
Agreement (TILMA) between B.C. and Alberta are inaccurate and misleading,
according to trade consultant Ellen Gould.
    Hansen made the statements yesterday during an exclusive press briefing
held to counter public fears about the recently enacted trade deal. Gould, who
spoke with journalists who were part of the conference call, was engaged by
CUPE to respond.
    "Minister Hansen is claiming that TILMA is not that far-reaching, that
governments are safe from a TILMA challenge if they do not discriminate
between B.C. and Alberta businesses," said Gould. "In fact, the TILMA imposes
the most radical restrictions on governments to be found in any existing trade
agreement."
    Gould, who wrote a report on TILMA released in February by the Canadian
Centre for Policy Alternatives, pointed that the agreement has an
unprecedented provision - Article 3. This article prohibits governments from
implementing regulations or providing programs if they are obstacles to
investment.
    "Hansen is just wrong when he claims that the existing Agreement on
Internal Trade also has a provision stating that there can be no obstacles to
investment," said Gould. "In fact, the Agreement on Internal Trade does not
apply the 'no obstacles' requirement to investment - and for good reason.
Government regulations and public service delivery by their very nature impede
the establishment or expansion of private business, so a 'no obstacles to
investment' clause is a fundamental threat to the capacity of governments to
govern."
    Gould also explained why, in contrast with what Hansen told journalists,
it was not reassuring that most disputes would be settled before they ever got
to a TILMA dispute panel; why B.C. and Alberta do not have control over TILMA
panel decisions because they appoint panel members; and why TILMA will
inevitably result in the lowering of standards. (For Gould's detailed rebuttal
of Minister Hansen's statements, visit www.cupe.bc.ca.)
    Ellen Gould has consulted on the potential impacts of trade for
international consumer groups and the Union of BC Municipalities, as well as
doing public consultations on trade agreements for the BC government.




For further information:

For further information: Ellen Gould, (604) 739-8560; Dan Gawthrop, CUPE
Communications, (604) 999-6132 (cell); (604) 291-1940; www.cupe.bc.ca

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