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The Progressive Economics Forum

Saskatchewan Rejects TILMA Yet Again

Notwithstanding the newish Saskatchewan government’s public rejection of TILMA, the Canadian Press recently reported:

The [Alberta] premier says Bill 1 will be framework legislation to facilitate a sweeping 2007 trade deal with British Columbia known as the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).

“We have to move on it,” says Stelmach. “There are other provinces now waiting to see us progress on it.”

Alberta is already talking with Saskatchewan’s newly elected right-wing government which, unlike the previous NDP administration, is keen to become part of a western trade deal with Alberta and B.C.

It again appears that Premier Wall may be making positive noises about TILMA in Alberta while distancing himself from it at home:

Wall won’t join TILMA, but he likes co-operation

Angela Hall

Leader-Post

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Premier Brad Wall says his Sask. Party government still has concerns about the trade pact forged between British Columbia and Alberta, and brushed aside NDP suggestions that he’s now thinking about signing on.

Wall said he’s not in favour of joining the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) because of outstanding issues about its impact on certain tax incentives and on Crown corporation subsidiaries.

The premier said TILMA has been presented as a take-it-or-leave-it agreement.

“Under those circumstances we will not take it,” Wall said.

But he said the province does want to find ways to cooperate with western provinces, including holding occasional joint cabinet meetings.

“We like the principles of improved economic cooperation. We’d like to have better labour mobility … except we have these concerns with TILMA,” Wall told reporters.

However, Opposition Leader Lorne Calvert said government members haven’t been consistent when it comes to TILMA, noting the Sask. Party at first chastised the former NDP government for not being at the table but before the fall election announced it did not support the deal.

Calvert also pointed to meetings this week between government MLAs and a delegation representing the Pacific Northwest Economic Region, a public/private partnership that brings together groups from five states, B.C., Alberta and Yukon. Calvert said he was told that Sask. Party MLA Michael Chisholm indicated to the delegation in a meeting that the government would review TILMA.

“It would appear to me that this is another example of having said one thing before an election and now post election we’re finding a different approach is being taken,” Calvert said, adding that media reports out of Alberta have also suggested the Sask. Party government is interested in joining a western trade deal.

But Wall said the NDP is raising “conspiracy theories.”

. . .

Kudos to the NDP opposition for keeping the provincial government’s feet to the fire on TILMA. Thanks to Larry Hubich for bringing both articles to my attention.

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