Steelworkers to Premiers: Use Public Procurement to Support Canadian Jobs

    REGINA, Aug. 5 /CNW/ - As provincial Premiers convene their annual
Council of the Federation meeting, the United Steelworkers union (USW) is
calling on them to reject proposed extensions of "free trade" rules that would
prevent the use of provincial and local procurement policy to create jobs in
    The federal government has long sought to surrender provincial
procurement powers through trade negotiations with the European Union. It is
now asking Premiers to abandon these powers ostensibly to seek a Canadian
exemption from "Buy America" policies. It has also proposed to extend the
North American Free Trade Agreement to encompass all provincial and local
    "Canada already has severe trade deficits in manufactured goods with both
Europe and Mexico," said Ken Neumann, USW's Canadian National Director. "The
Government of Canada's approach would drain needed stimulus from our economy
through these glaring trade deficits."
    A better approach would be a bilateral agreement with the U.S., which has
balanced trade in manufactured goods with Canada. Under such an arrangement,
federally-funded infrastructure projects in both countries would give
preference to inputs manufactured in both countries. This model would not
restrict procurement financed entirely from provincial revenues, provincial
Crown corporations, or municipal revenues.
    "Buy America is a federal condition attached to infrastructure transfers
to state and local governments," explained Neumann. "The Government of Canada
could attach parallel Buy Canadian conditions to its infrastructure transfers
and then offer to exempt American manufacturers from this requirement in
exchange for the U.S. Government exempting Canadian manufacturers from Buy
    The United Steelworkers union has joined with other unions, provincial
federations of labour, and the Council of Canadians in support of a joint
statement on public procurement. The statement can be found at

For further information:

For further information: Bob Gallagher, (416) 544-5966, (416) 434-2221

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