Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall's flip-flop on TILMA "suggests a hidden agenda"

Shifting stand on TILMA suggests a hidden agenda

The StarPhoenix

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall's recent comments regarding TILMA and the Pacific Northwest Economic Region don't appear to be true.

In the story Sask. Party still open to TILMA: Calvert (SP, Aug. 4), Wall denied that his party is looking to PNWER as a back-door way of joining the trade agreement.

In a longer version of the same story published in the Leader-Post, Wall said PNWER is a regional economic group just "discussing reducing barriers to trade" and that "it doesn't have anything to do with TILMA."

On July 18, 2006, at its annual summit in Edmonton, PNWER's trade and economic development work group resolved to "embrace the opportunity to educate and explore the possibility of expanding the B.C.-Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) concept throughout the PNWER region."

At last month's summit in Anchorage the same working group resolved "that PNWER ask the workforce mobility task force to consider expanding its project's objectives to also include other TILMA issues such as procurement and standards/regulations."

On Oct. 18, 2006, PNWER's executive director Matt Morrison, an American, told the standing Senate committee on banking, trade and commerce: "We did have something to do with the B.C.-Alberta agreement, which I think is a great model that needs to be expanded."

It's bad enough that TILMA was negotiated behind closed doors without public consultation or legislative debate, but learning that the United States might be involved is disturbing.

Wall's support for TILMA last year was absolute and unequivocal. Not once did he raise any concerns with the agreement in its present form and he repeatedly condemned Premier Lorne Calvert for not signing it. Yet it's only now on the eve of a provincial election that he says he has problems with it. What is Wall's real agenda?

Joe Kuchta

┬ęThe StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2007


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