Tuesday, June 12, 2007

TILMA: Ontario PC Leader John Tory's election promise to join trade deal "would threaten programs"; Toronto Star

The following letter to the editor appeared in the June 12, 2007, edition of The Toronto Star:

Trade deal would threaten programs

The Toronto Star

June 12, 2007

Tory's plan to get elected

June 10

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory's election platform includes a promise to join the B.C.-Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA). This is despite the fact there are few tangible examples of barriers between provinces and no empirical evidence such barriers entail significant economic costs.

TILMA puts at risk important policies and programs that are in the public interest. Article 17 requires a ministerial committee to "review annually the exceptions listed ... with a view to reducing their scope." This means the exceptions will shrink over time, eventually exposing them to the full force of the agreement. These include measures relating to aboriginal people; labour standards and codes; minimum wages; Employment Insurance; and social-assistance benefits and workers' compensation.

Since health and education measures are not clearly identified as exceptions, it would seem that they, too, could be at risk.

Joe Kuchta, Saskatoon, Sask.


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