OAKVILLE, ON, March 27, 2012 /CNW/ - In a near unanimous vote yesterday evening, Oakville Town Council passed a resolution calling for "direct dialogue" with the province of Ontario as well as assurances that Oakville's interests are protected under a proposed free trade deal between Canada and the European Union.
The Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement would mark the first time Canadian provinces and, by extension, municipalities would be subject to the terms and conditions of an international trade deal.
Although preferring a call to exempt the town from the deal, Oakville and District Labour Council President Dave Millar said town council made a smart decision to speak out.
"There's no good reason why our cities and towns are being kept in the dark on a trade deal that could significantly impact how they conduct their day-to-day business," Millar said. "Oakville is asking for greater transparency and information and that's the very least our federal and provincial governments can provide."
The resolution passed by a vote of 11 to 1.
In his deputation to council, CAW Local 707 member and Oakville Labour Council Second Vice President Tim Batke took aim at recent comments made by Jason Langrish (Executive Director of the Canada-Europe Roundtable for Business) downplaying the impact of CETA on municipal purchasing decisions. Langrish states the deal would only apply to purchases in excess of $340,000 and construction projects over $8.5 million.
"It's commonly understood that while 80 per cent of municipal contracts on average fall below these thresholds the 20 per cent that exceed them, in fact, account for 80 per cent of the value of all procurement contracts," Batke said. "This is very significant."
So far, over fifty Canadian municipalities have passed resolutions expressing concerns over the proposed trade deal. Some, including the cities of Toronto, Oshawa, Hamilton and Ingersoll have called for a clear and permanent exemption from the deal.
For further information:
ODLC President Dave Millar (cell) 905-220-5757