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Municipalities will lose power and Canadians will lose rights, public services with CETA

Author: Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)


EU wants access to Canadian markets; Canadians want what's in the public interest.

 CETA is a significant potential threat to municipal rights and local democracy.

June 1, 2011: Canadians want their communities governed in the public interest. But increasingly, trade deals like the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union threaten municipal rights and powers in favour of the interests of large international corporations.

Under CETA, the European Union wants unrestricted access to provincial and local government purchasing for goods and services. If they get what they want, Canada's municipalities will be stripped of their power to implement "buy local" policies and local economic development programs. These policies and programs support local businesses and create local jobs when they award contracts for goods, services, or capital projects.

This is a big deal and Canadians should pay close attention. The European Union has a larger economy and a larger population than the United States and the Canadian government has said it wants a deal with the EU that is "more comprehensive" than even the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

  It's clear that Canada's municipal leaders have much about which to be concerned. Unlike NAFTA, the EU deal will fully cover Canada's municipalities and provinces.

It's a particularly big deal for Canada's municipalities. Based on leaked copies of the draft text and statements by the parties, it's clear that Canada's municipal leaders have much about which to be concerned. Unlike NAFTA, the EU deal will fully cover Canada's municipalities and provinces.

Here are just a few of the main items of concern in the proposed CETA:

Purchasing and procurement

The EU has made it clear that its top priority is unrestricted access to contracts and purchasing by Canada's provinces and local governments. The total government procurement market in Canada is worth at least $100 billion per year. The EU wants to eliminate the ability of municipalities, school districts, and other local authorities to establish "buy local" or "buy Canadian" policies. This would include banning measures that protect or promote local business opportunities and local jobs when municipalities contract for goods and services. Strategic purchasing strategies that promote green jobs, anti-sweatshop guidelines, and local food policies may also be at risk.

Increased administrative costs

If the EU gains access to public procurement, municipalities may face increased costs associated with providing the federal government with information about their procurement activities: publishing detailed notices and announcements of intended procurement, issuing tenders which comply with CETA procedures, justifying procurement decisions to unsuccessful suppliers, and defending their actions before undemocratic trade bodies.

For full article including leaked report  go here Golden Lake Institute/, 2007-11

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