Saturday, April 14, 2007

TILMA: For residents of B.C. and Alberta no public consultations, stakeholder meetings or legislative debate took place. TILMA was signed in secrecy.

TILMA: 'a corporate bill of rights'

The Leader-Post

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The 1930s resonate as a period of economic depression in this province. April 14, 1935, remains the day when the skies turned black on the Prairies due to dust storms and continues to be referred to as "Black Sunday".

"Black Sunday" can also be applied to April 1, 2007, the date of implementation of the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) in B.C and Alberta. Though not a weather phenomenon, historians may describe TILMA as an economic storm causing devastation and destruction to public programs, public institutions and governments at all levels.

For residents of B.C. and Alberta, TILMA is just an acronym -- easy to pronounce, but difficult to understand. No public consultations, stakeholder meetings or legislative debate took place. TILMA was signed in secrecy.

The federal Conservatives, the Saskatchewan Party and the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce see TILMA as a corporate opportunity. These organizations share a fundamental belief that safeguards and protections -- for citizens -- should not impair investment and that governments should be restricted in the services they provide and not compete with the private sector. They share a conviction that corporations must be given rights superior to those granted to individuals under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In fact, TILMA is a corporate bill of rights.

The agreement uses the words "trade", "investment" and "labour mobility". Studies continue to indicate that workers in Canada move freely from province to province. One of the criticisms by the Saskatchewan Party is that our province continues to feel the impact of the exodus of educated, young people. As a means to counter the "brain drain", the provincial government will be providing tax incentives in order to keep our youth in Saskatchewan. No reason for a scheme like TILMA.

Interprovincial trade has been touted as a problem that must be addressed. But even "experts" such as the Conference Board of Canada can only use the issue of the coloration of margarine in Quebec as one of the most compelling trade barriers facing our nation. No reason for a scheme like TILMA.

TILMA is an agreement about investment and will allow corporations unfettered profit in all areas of the economy including those areas in the public domain. Citizens take ownership of laws that provide protections and safeguards for the common good. Corporations argue these laws restrict investment and profit. TILMA provides corporations the legal right to challenge our laws through a private dispute panel. The decisions of the panel are binding with awards for corporations up to $5 million. The payment of these awards ultimately would be funded by tax dollars.

If Saskatchewan decides to sign onto TILMA, what protection and safeguards would you be willing to give up to the corporate sector?

Send a message to your MLA that your Saskatchewan does not include the "so-called" Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement.

Marvin Meickel
Meickel is treasurer of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour.

┬ęThe Leader-Post (Regina) 2007


At 10:29 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Keep up the good work.


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