Saturday, April 14, 2007

TILMA: SUMA president gives Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) an earful

SUMA has good reason to worry

The Leader-Post

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I write to address the "disappointment" of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) over the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) opposition to the Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), as reported in the April 4 Leader-Post.

Municipal councils adopt bylaws and policies that take into consideration the best interests of our residents and local businesses. It is on behalf of local businesses that SUMA has concerns over the implications of the province joining the TILMA agreement negotiated between British Columbia and Alberta.

Many municipal councils prefer to support local suppliers when procuring goods and services. Entrepreneurs and the local businesses they own are vital to the fabric of our communities. Not only do they create jobs and prosperity, but they are a source of pride and identity for our cities, towns and villages. SUMA's concern is that TILMA removes our members' autonomy to choose local suppliers instead of competitors from other provinces.

An analysis of TILMA from the municipal perspective can be found at www.suma.org Some of the other restrictions that TILMA could impose on local autonomy relate to land-use planning and economic development initiatives. Municipal governments are duly elected bodies and should not be restricted by a trade, investment and labour agreement developed by other provinces for other provinces. If the current or future Saskatchewan government develops a serious interest in TILMA, SUMA wants to be involved in the negotiations and not just "consulted" after a deal is done, as municipalities were treated in B.C. and Alberta.

Saskatchewan's municipalities, urban and rural, are working to eliminate administrative and bureaucratic barriers to economic development through the "Clearing the Path" initiative.

The cities, towns and villages of this province prefer a home-grown solution that supports our local businesses and industries.

Allan Earle
Earle is president of the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association.
Dalmeny

┬ęThe Leader-Post (Regina) 2007

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