Main menu:

History of RPE Thought

Posts by Tag

RSS New from the CCPA

  • CCPA in Europe for CETA speaking tour October 17, 2017
    On September 21, Canada and the European Union announced that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a controversial NAFTA-plus free trade deal initiated by the Harper government and signed by Prime Minister Trudeau in 2016, was now provisionally in force. In Europe, however, more than 20 countries have yet to officially ratify the deal, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Twelve year study of an inner-city neighbourhood October 12, 2017
    What does twelve years of community organizing look like for a North End Winnipeg neighbourhood?  Jessica Leigh survey's those years with the Dufferin community from a community development lens.  Read full report.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Losing your ID - even harder to recover when you have limited resources! October 10, 2017
    Ellen Smirl researched the barriers experienced by low-income Manitobans when faced with trying to replace lost, stolen, or never aquired idenfication forms. Read full report here.  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA recommendations for a better North American trade model October 6, 2017
    The all-party House of Commons trade committee is consulting Canadians on their priorities for bilateral and trilateral North American trade in light of the current renegotiation of NAFTA. In the CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew, and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood argue for a different kind of trading relationship that is inclusive, transformative, and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Ontario’s fair wage policy needs to be refreshed September 28, 2017
    The Ontario government is consulting on ways to modernize the province’s fair wage policy, which sets standards for wages and working conditions for government contract workers such as building cleaners, security guards, building trades and construction workers. The fair wage policy hasn’t been updated since 1995, but the labour market has changed dramatically since then. […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Progressive Bloggers


Recent Blog Posts

Posts by Author

Recent Blog Comments

The Progressive Economics Forum

Internal Trade Hypocrisy?

Murray Campbell’s excellent column in today’s Globe and Mail (excerpted below) accurately portrays the current state of play on the interprovincial trade front, including Steven Shrybman’s constitutional challenge of TILMA in Alberta and BC, Saskatchewan’s continued rejection of TILMA, the Quebec-Ontario negotiations and corporate Canada’s unrelenting push for new powers. One can only hope that the Globe editorial board reads its own newspaper.

While Murray Campbell appropriately questions corporate Canada’s inability to formulate a list of interprovincial barriers, the Premiers who have been shrillest in denouncing such barriers have recently unveiled some new ones.

Several North American jurisdictions will be putting a price on carbon emissions through the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). They will also have to find ways to apply this price to the carbon content of imports from jurisdictions that do not price it. In particular, BC will apparently be imposing a tariff on imports of coal-fired electricity from Alberta. One wonders whether this measure is TILMA-compliant.

By most accounts, Jean Charest initiated the current Quebec-Ontario negotiations. But earlier this month, his government trumpeted a requirement that new wind farms incur at least 60% of their costs in Quebec. This sort of preferential provincial procurement is one of the few tangible examples of alleged trade impediments within Canada.

Gordon Campbell and Jean Charest present themselves as champions of the struggle against supposed interprovincial barriers. It’s interesting that both have now found apparently compelling public-policy rationales to enact measures that could restrict economic flows from other provinces.

Ontario, Quebec: Just say no to TILMA

The Globe And Mail

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Page: A13

Byline: Murray Campbell

. . .

The agreements unveiled June 2 in Quebec City will likely deal with certification and other credential issues and that’s harmless enough. But the pursuit of the “expanded accord” that the premiers want has only begun and many in the hardy band of people who monitor trade issues in Canada believe, like Elmer Fudd, that “there’s something scwewy going on around here.”

Their fear is that Ontario and Quebec are pursuing something similar to the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement that British Columbia and Alberta struck in 2006 and which will take effect next spring. Critics charge that this TILMA deal is a Trojan horse pushed by businesses to restrict the regulatory powers of provincial and municipal governments. They point to a “general rule” of the deal that there should be “no obstacles” to freer trade and the right it gives businesses to sue governments for up to $5-million “on any matter” involving the interpretation or application of the deal.

The quasi-judicial tribunal to hear disputes is one reason why lawyer Steven Shrybman concluded this week that TILMA and the B.C. legislation enabling it violate the Canadian Constitution by usurping the role of judges and endowing cabinet with too much power. He wrote his brief for the Canadian Union of Public Employees but it’s worth nothing that the right-wing Saskatchewan Party has also taken a pass on joining the pact despite the invitation from Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach.

TILMA isn’t on the table in Quebec City but that doesn’t mean the pressure for it (or something similar) has eased. The business community is still urging a new mechanism to supersede the 14-year-old Agreement on Internal Trade. AIT has reduced the barriers to labour mobility but businesses say it is ineffective because it doesn’t have a binding dispute-resolution mechanism like TILMA. For example, a national coalition of 10 industry and professional organizations wants to allow individuals or businesses to challenge the decisions of elected governments before tribunals whose authority is beyond a government or the judicial system.

The business case is weakened, however, because it hasn’t produced a list of the barriers that need to be eliminated. Their claim, with no supporting data, is that restrictions take $3-billion off the GNP. (Mr. Stelmach says it’s $14- billion.) To her credit, Ontario Economic Development Minister Sandra Pupatello says there’s a lot of “political rhetoric” about trade barriers that doesn’t withstand scrutiny.

The smart thing for the premiers to do is to take a pass on TILMA and simply work a little harder on their bilateral irritations. They should resist the pressure to hand over power to unelected tribunals.

Enjoy and share:

Write a comment

Related articles