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  • Betting on Bitumen: Alberta's energy policies from Lougheed to Klein June 8, 2017
    The role of government in Alberta, both involvement and funding, has been critical in ensuring that more than narrow corporate interests were served in the development of the province’s bitumen resources.  A new report contrasts the approaches taken by two former premiers during the industry’s early development and rapid expansion periods.  The Lougheed government invested […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Canada-China FTA will leave workers worse off June 2, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is currently consulting Canadians on a possible Canada-China free trade agreement. In CCPA’s submission to this process, CCPA senior researcher Scott Sinclair argues that an FTA based on Canada’s standard template would almost certainly reinforce rather than improve upon Canada’s imbalanced and deleterious trade with China. It can also be expected to […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Faulty assumptions about pipelines and tidewater access May 30, 2017
    The federal and Alberta governments and the oil industry argue that pipelines to tidewater will unlock new markets where Canadian oil can command a better price than in the US, where the majority of Canadian oil is currently exported. Both governments have approved Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project, but a new report finds that […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Weathering the storm: is this the end of CRA’s political activities audits? May 5, 2017
    Yesterday, following a panel’s recommendation to allow charities more freedom to speak out, the federal government decided to suspend the Canada Revenue Agency’s controversial political activities audit program. Indeed this is good news for Canadian charities. Everyone at the CCPA is proud of the role our organization has played in challenging these audits and in […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Unauthorized dams built in BC's northeast for energy companies' fracking May 3, 2017
    A subsidiary of Malaysian state-owned Petronas, the company behind a massive Liquefied Natural Gas plant proposal near Prince Rupert, has built at least 16 large unauthorized dams in northeast BC to trap water used for fracking operations, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has learned. Read the report.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

Sinclair on Binding Enforcement

Last week, Scott Sinclair released an excellent briefing paper on efforts to attach $5-million penalties to the existing Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT). The debate about interprovincial barriers has become a four-ring circus: TILMA, the Ontario-Quebec negotiations, proposals to amend the AIT, and federal threats to invoke the trade and commerce power. In all of these areas, progressives need to prevent overblown concerns about alleged trade barriers from being used to grant business new powers to directly challenge public policy.

Federal procurement, the area of the AIT currently subject to binding enforcement, provides a cautionary example. Sinclair notes that the Canadian International Trade Tribunal has received 315 procurement complaints under the AIT during the past five years, compared to only 15 under international deals. The general feeling at the Treasury Board Secretariat, at least when I worked there under Canada’s Old Government, was that the costs of running scrupulously arm’s-length procurement processes often outweighed any cost savings from having more suppliers bid.

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Comments

Comment from Tony Trepanier
Time: December 9, 2007, 4:58 pm

Creating binding enforcements at the national level is the easy part (economically, not politically); the real challenge will be creating targets on an international level where they will have enough scale to actually make a difference.

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