|Posted by Winnipeg Chapter on September 29, 2011 at 5:40 PM|
The federal and provincial governments are currently negotiating with European Union representatives on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The EU is requiring that in exchange for greater access to European markets, Canada would have to adopt an across jurisdiction open procurement policy. This means that when the federal, provincial, or a municipal government decides to purchase goods or services they would be legally required to only consider price. An open procurement policy would severely limit the ability of governments to stimulate local economies and create local jobs.
Given that the next provincial government elected will be representing Manitobans at the bargaining table with the EU voters should know where the parties stand on the CETA. The Progressive Conservatives’ platform promises that they “will join national, international and regional trade agreements” but they also state that they “will formulate pro-trade policies for Manitoba that will benefit local businesses and jobs.” The PC platform doesn’t mention the CETA by name but the PC’s cannot have it both ways, either they are honest when they write in their platform that they “recognize the tremendous level of services provided by local governments and respect the leadership and input demonstrated by elected municipal officials” or they sign on to the CETA with its open procurement policy and prevent municipal governments from hiring local companies.
I would quote the NDP, Liberal, and Green Party’s stances on the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement but none of their platforms have any references to any trade agreements.
With all of this discussion about the future of Manitoba Hydro you would hope that the political parties would reference how this proposed trade deal would limit Northern economic development by preventing Manitoba Hydro from contracting jobs to First Nations groups.
The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement will have huge implications for the Manitoba economy and how our governments can respond to economic recessions. If democracy is to work and elections are to be more than a daily affair of bickering and one-liners, we need to have political parties willing to take stands on difficult and complicated issues. Manitobans don’t support “pro-trade” policies for pro-trade sake, but rather are for smart trade policies and the CETA is not smart and will not benefit our economy.
During these final days of the campaign, demand that your candidates tell you their stance on the CETA. Tell them local governments and local jobs are important and that the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement is not good for Manitoba.
Contributor: Trevor Semotok - Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter Member
Categories: Voter Information