|Posted by Winnipeg Chapter on September 12, 2011 at 10:25 PM|
The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU) is currently being negotiated behind closed doors by the Harper government, provincial representatives, and the EU. The European Union is demanding the inclusion of an open procurement policy across all levels of government jurisdiction. This would result in both provinces and municipalities being effectively banned from applying any preferences in public contracting or procurement. Local and provincial governments could not purchase local goods, hire local companies, or sign contracts that had any considerations other than price. Infrastructure projects would no longer be an investment in local job creation as any corporation could sue a government that hired a local company that did not offer the lowest price.
An enforced open procurement policy would severely limit the ability of governments to respond to economic downturns with stimulus spending.
In Manitoba valued public assets like Manitoba Hydro, the Winnipeg International Airport, and Winnipeg Transit have all been identified as public assets that EU corporations could outbid and takeover. Given Winnipeg’s recent deal with the notorious French Water Company, Veolia, for a 30 year contract for our waste water treatment centres and with the CETA in effect there would be tremendous pressure placed on all Manitoba municipalities to privatize their water and waste services. The CETA would force governments to make decisions where profitability would have legal precedence over local economic concerns, the needs of the community, and the human right to the public availability of water.
As it stands the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union would restrict local and provincial government and limit our ability to make democratic choices about our economy. We would lose control over our resources, our jobs, our economy, and our local government.
Stephen Harper wants the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement signed by 2012, but he needs the cooperation of the provinces. During this election talk to your MLA and local candidates and tell them about your concerns over the CETA. Make sure that the next government of Manitoba will defend our local economy and our democracy by saying NO to the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement.
Contributor: Trevor Semotok - Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter Member
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