Alberta-BC trade deal will undermine Municipal authority

    CALGARY, June 1 /CNW Telbec/ - A legal opinion produced by Sack Goldblatt
Mitchell sheds damaging new light on the recent Alberta-BC Trade, Investment
and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).
    Steven Shrybman, partner with the legal firm Sack Goldblatt Mitchell says
that one of the very real impacts of TILMA arises not simply from the breadth
of its application, "but particularly from the effectiveness of its
enforcement procedures." According to Shrybman, "TILMA empowers private
parties to claim damages where it is alleged that a measure offends TILMA
rules. Where a municipality, for example, refuses to remove a measure that is
found to violate TILMA rules, monetary awards up to $5 million may be awarded
against the province and to the private party."
    The legal opinion, produced by Shrybman for the Canadian Union of Public
Employees, calls into question the independence of local governments,
according to CUPE national president, Paul Moist, "If there was ever any doubt
that TILMA will undermine local government authority this legal opinion should
put those doubts to rest."
    "Soon we'll find TILMA rules being invoked to challenge the regulations,
programs and funding arrangements upon which public and social services
depend. Citizens will begin to hear that the regulations, programs and funding
arrangements put in place to encourage public services now restrict or
discriminate against private sector providers," explained Moist.
    "Finally, explained Moist, because TILMA provides unprecedented grounds
for asserting the interests of private companies that sell services, it is
likely to become the preferred venue for those seeking to privatize public
    Moist questions why separate trade agreements are needed in Canada when
the country already has interprovincial trade. "TILMA is not necessary. We
have interprovincial trade in Canada. As most Canadians will readily
recognize, Canada is a society in which people are free to live, work and
invest anywhere in the country. We have no customs stations along provincial
borders and no tariffs of any kind on interprovincial trade.
    The question that remains for municipalities is: In light of TILMA'S
dubious rationale, and uncertain but significant costs, does TILMA represent
an exercise of provincial executive power that municipalities should question
and oppose?" concluded Moist.

For further information:

For further information: Paul Moist, CUPE national president, (613)
558-2873 (cell); Steven Shrybman, partner of the legal firm Sack Goldblatt
Mitchell, (613) 858-6842 (cell.); Catherine Louli, CUPE communications, (613)
851-0547 (cell)

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