Saturday, May 05, 2007

TILMA softens up Canada to be integrated with U.S.

TILMA softens up Canada to be integrated with U.S.

The StarPhoenix

Saturday, May 05, 2007

What do Canadians know about the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement that B.C. and Alberta hastily signed and came into effect on April Fool's Day?

As with the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Security and Partnership of North America (SPP) deal, the main components are policy harmonization and investor rights. Under TILMA, a legally funded process is created whereby corporations and individuals can challenge:

- Regulations in another province by enforcing the "mutual recognition" clause; i.e. an Alberta investor could apply Alberta's regulations in B.C;

- Provincial regulations or programs they believe will restrict investment (Crown corporations could be attacked);

- Provincial initiatives not agreed with another province.

After a two-year transition period, TILMA would apply to all local government regulations. Entities covered include all forms of municipal, regional, and district governments and school boards, which would be vulnerable to private lawsuits.

A binational organization, the Pacific Northwest Economic Region, which includes B.C., Alberta and the northwestern American states, is exploring ways to expand TILMA. With a large investment from the oil and gas sector, it's seeking ways to give U.S. companies the right to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board or any agriculture policies, and to rewrite provincial and municipal rules that impede "deep integration" with the U.S.

Thomas d'Aquino of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and Stephen Harper's government must be smiling at the way TILMA prepares Canada for assimilation with the U.S. while deviously claiming that it's about domestic, interprovincial trade.

Why would B.C. and Alberta put private profits ahead of the public good and allow corporations to dictate what our governments can do for their citizens?

Helen Baker
Saskatoon

┬ęThe StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2007

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