CGA-Canada, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Council of Chief Executives and VOIC call on PM to regulate internal trade within Canada
A coalition of disgruntled business organizations is calling on Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper to develop and implement legislation to regulate trade and commerce between provinces in
The super lobby group, led by the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada and the Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada, also includes the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, and the Dairy Processors of Canada.
The group is apparently frustrated with the glacial pace taken by Premiers in removing interprovincial trade barriers. The problem, though, is that the alleged barriers don’t really exist yet these organizations continue to alarm Canadians with their attempts to instill a sense of panic and crisis over the issue.
In the op-ed Is
Evidence seems to suggest that this is simply not true.
The report Saskatchewan’s Internal Trade at a Glance (April 2007), prepared by Saskatchewan Government Relations, notes: “According to the OECD, Canada is amongst the most ‘open’ of all industrialized countries, both in terms of its international trade and in terms of its domestic economic and administrative regulatory ‘restrictiveness’.”
“Empirically, Canada’s and the West’s internal trade growth and their overall economic growth have mirrored each other - some economists cite this as evidence that few impediments to internal trade exist in Canada,” the report states.
Still, groups like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Council of Chief Executives are determined to incite hysteria over something that most credible reports have determined does not exist to the extent claimed.
“This is about differences in regulations and standards across provincial lines, not whether businesses are barred from selling goods or making investments,” notes economist Marc Lee in an excellent rebuttal posted at the Progressive Economics Forum.
McPhee and Pressault use the word “Canadians” six times in their op-ed as if to suggest they and their cohorts somehow speak for all citizens. They don’t. The primary purpose of the organizations they represent is to affect change in public policy so more profits can be generated for shareholders.
In June 1997 the Canadian Council of Chief Executives reported that its 150 member companies administered in excess of C$1.6 trillion in assets with an annual turnover of approximately C$500 billion. As of September 2007 those assets have swelled to C$3.5 trillion with revenues in excess of C$800 billion. The average Canadian did not enjoy the same level of prosperity. In fact, the gap between rich and poor has only gotten worse.
Honestly, when was the last time the Canadian Chamber of Commerce or Canadian Council of Chief Executives gave a damn about what ordinary Canadians think?
In their op-ed McPhee and Pressault also state:
“Maybe the federal government should do something. Section 91(2) of the Constitution Act, 1867, allows the federal government to regulate trade and commerce between provinces in Canada.Sooner or later you had to know this was coming. Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has spent the last several months warning provinces that they’d either better sign the BC-Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) or emulate it – and soon.
“Don't count on it. They have never done their job in 140 years and there is no indication that they will do so now. But here’s a modest proposal: Prime Minister Stephen Harper, please develop and legislate a set of domestic trade principles that all governments could apply to their legislation, regulations, policies and administrative practices to ensure open trade within
“And do so in a manner that involves all Canadians who wish to comment and consult. Let’s get the business of reforming interprovincial trade out of the premiers' private club and into the open for all citizens.”
As for the Harper government involving “all Canadians who wish to comment and consult,” one only need look at the way they conducted the Canadian Wheat Board plebiscite to see that that’s not a viable option.
Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper made his feelings on public consultation known on January 29, 2003, when as Leader of the Opposition he stood in the House of Commons and, on the matter of the impending Iraq War and Canada’s involvement, said:
“This party will not take its position based on public opinion polls. We will not take a stand based on focus groups. We will not take a stand based on phone-in shows or householder surveys or any other vagaries of public opinion.”Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty have already given TILMA their unqualified support. Their goal is to clearly see it, or something like it, implemented in every province and territory in Canada. Any “consultation” undertaken by this government will undoubtedly come with a pre-determined outcome.
The Canadian Council of Chief Executives, with help from the Canadian government and organizations like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, have spent a great deal of time, energy and money developing and forcing its North American Security and Prosperity Initiative (NASPI) down the throats of North Americans without their input or consent. The BC and