City of Yellowknife opposes TILMA; decision calls for Northwest Territories Association of Communities to urge Territorial Government not to sign deal
With only one councillor opposed Yellowknife City Council sent a clear message on April 10, 2007, that it was not impressed with the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) when it resolved that the Northwest Territories Association of Communities (NWTAC) “urge the Territorial Government not to sign on to any such agreement, and should it do so anyway, that it negotiate a clear, permanent exception from TILMA restrictions for NWT municipalities and municipal organizations.”
The motion that was passed by Yellowknife City Council reflects the growing concern that some municipalities are having about the negative impact TILMA will have on communities should their respective provincial or territorial government sign the horrific trade deal.
The Council minutes will be presented for adoption on Monday, April 23, 2007.
The TILMA resolution reads as follows:
Councillor Montgomery movedIt is interesting that the Yellowknife motion should mention that “political pressure may be growing to encourage the GNWT to sign” an agreement like TILMA when the Alberta/NWT office of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) recently sent NT Premier Joseph Handley a letter mentioning the trade deal.
Councillor Kennedy seconded,
Trade, Investment, and Labour Mobility Agreement
WHEREAS the BC/Alberta Trade, Investment And Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), which was signed without appropriate consultation with local governments or the public, will expose to challenge all government measures that “restrict or impair” trade, investment or labour mobility, unless such measures are specifically exempted from TILMA;
WHEREAS the Alberta/B.C. Trade Agreement will function like a municipal North American Free Trade Agreement, by giving extensive new grounds to the private sector to sue local governments for trade “infractions” such as municipal construction regulations, zoning, quality densification standards, etc.;
WHEREAS TILMA would accord private individuals and corporations the extraordinary right to challenge local government land use planning and other public interest decisions that they allege offend the agreement’s rules, and to seek up to $5,000,000 in damages arising from each alleged TILMA violation; and,
WHEREAS political pressure may be growing to encourage the GNWT to sign on to such an agreement without consulting either municipalities or the territorial legislature;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the NWTAC urge the Territorial Government not to sign on to any such agreement, and should it do so anyway, that it negotiate a clear, permanent exception from TILMA restrictions for NWT municipalities and municipal organizations.
(Councillor Wind opposed)
The CFIB's February 7, 2007, correspondence to Premier Handley included results of a survey it conducted with its 250
One survey question asked “if the
The results show “Fifty-two percent of NWT members were in support as removing trade barriers will enhance investment and employment opportunities. It will also reduce costs and enhance the competitiveness of the region as a place to do business, work and live. Sixteen per cent of NWT members disagreed and 32 per cent were undecided or had no interest in the issue.”
What is disturbing is that it appears the CFIB provided its members with just two seemingly benign reasons why some people oppose TILMA:
1) Governments would lose some policy flexibility to manage their own economies; and
2) Businesses would face more competition from outside their jurisdiction.
This does not even begin to come close to describing the true damage an agreement like TILMA would cause. Just ask Yellowknife City Council or the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association that have chosen to oppose TILMA for some very real and legitimate reasons.
Rather than getting the whole story it seems businesses in the
1) Removing trade barriers will enhance investment and employment opportunities; and
2) It will reduce costs and enhance the competitiveness of the region as a place to do business, work and live.
With such leading questions and the near complete absence of quality information its little wonder that a majority of businesses surveyed in the