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Archive for 'TILMA'

Flaherty’s Made-Up Numbers

The following Canadian Press story is an hilariously accurate report of what happened on Wednesday when the Finance Minister appeared before a Senate committee to pontificate about supposed interprovincial barriers: Flaherty’s remarks came shortly before a senior Finance Department official told a Senate committee that interprovincial trade rules cost the country about one quarter of one […]

TILMA, Ontario and Quebec: The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance

A significant challenge in the TILMA debate has been that journalists often uncritically accept the premise that alleged inter-provincial barriers are a serious problem. Murray Campbell bucked this trend in Saturday’s Globe and Mail, where he drew the link between TILMA and last week’s Ontario-Quebec initiative. Electronically, his column appears under the headline “Premiers try […]

The Ontario-Quebec Deal: TILMA 2.0 ?

Today, Premiers McGuinty and Charest kicked off “free trade” negotiations between their provinces. The key question is whether this process will be a sweeping “race to the bottom” like the BC-Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) or a focused effort to develop common standards in the few areas where problems may exist. As […]

BC’s Climate Plan and TILMA

Here’e a piece that I wrote with Caelie Frampton, the Campaign Coordinator of the STOP TILMA Coalition. No pick-up in the major dailies but The Tyee has promised to run it at some point: TILMA a Major Hurdle to BC Climate Action Plans By Marc Lee and Caelie Frampton Premier Gordon Campbell has positioned BC […]

Inter-provincial Barriers: Where’s the Beef?

In yesterday’s Ontario Farmer, the federal Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz, railed against “tremendous inter-provincial trade barriers.” His example was restrictions on moving beef between provinces. My understanding is that, to the extent such restrictions exist, they arise from federal regulations rather than from provincial policy. Ritz claimed, “I have no problems with Quebec beef […]

The C. D. Howe Institute on TILMA

Yesterday, the C. D. Howe Institute released a Backgrounder supporting TILMA by Kathleen Macmillan and Patrick Grady. They make the most sensible case for the deal that I have read, but give short shrift to its pitfalls. They previously co-authored papers on internal trade and labour mobility for a federal conference that I attended. Days […]

Stopping TILMA in the Territories

It seems that, having failed to lure any other provinces into TILMA, the Premiers of Alberta and BC have turned their attention northward. Whereas the understanding was that Saskatchewan would need to sign the agreement before trying to negotiate any changes or exemptions, territorial officials have apparently been invited to begin such discussions without having […]

Flaherty’s Throne Speech Preview

Canadian Press reports that tomorrow’s throne speech will include more tax cuts and some effort to eliminate supposed inter-provincial barriers.  Since the Liberals agree with the Conservatives on both issues, they should not have much trouble letting the throne speech pass. More tax cuts, fewer trade barriers to come in throne speech: Finance Minister TORONTO […]

As Ontario’s Election Ends, Saskatchewan’s Begins

Yesterday’s Ontario election was pretty crummy. Almost the entire campaign was dominated by a contrived issue. Turnout hit an all-time low, with barely more than half of eligible voters bothering to cast ballots. Despite a smaller percentage of the popular vote than in the last election, the McGuinty Liberals cruised to a huge majority. The […]

TILMA and the Ontario Election

During the provincial campaign, Dalton McGuinty seems to have changed his tune on TILMA. This change is somewhat reminiscent of the Saskatchewan Party’s “road to Damascus” conversion on the issue. Six months ago, McGuinty praised TILMA and mused about joining it. A couple of weeks ago, he wrote the following in response to a questionnaire […]

Federal Spending Power: The Makings of a Phoney Debate

There have been suggestions that the Conservative government’s forthcoming Throne Speech will surrender the federal spending power. Through an op-ed in today’s Globe and Mail, Bob Rae tries to position himself, and presumably the Liberal Party, as defenders of the power. This posturing will help the Conservatives woo Quebec nationalists and help the Liberals appeal […]

BC municipalities reject TILMA

This week in Vancouver, the annual meetings of the Union of BC Municipalities are talking TILMA. The BC government signed the deal without consulting municipalities, and it is now in effect. Over the next two years, however, municipalities have an opportunity to seek exemptions from the agreement, although their appeals would go to Economic Development […]

Stelmach Speaks to the Empire Club

Yesterday, the Premier of Alberta addressed the Empire Club in Toronto. He said some encouraging things about Our Fair Share: “We will get a fair economic rent on the development of our resources. In fact we have recently received the recommendations of the Royalty Review Panel that I established as one of my first acts […]

More TILMA leaps of logic

The Canada West Foundation today released an economic profile and forecast for BC. Most of the report is numbers-based, and it looks at a wide variety of topic areas. But in the conclusion is this chestnut: Public policy developments such as the implementation of the BC-Alberta Trade, Investment, and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) will also […]

The history of the Conference Board’s TILMA report

Keith Reynolds, a researcher with CUPE-BC, has been following the BC government’s transactions with the Conference Board through access to information requests. Below is his summary of how this deal went down: Conference Board contract on TILMA I put the following notes together from about eight FOI requests over the last eight months and thought […]

The Ontario Election and TILMA

A clear contradiction has emerged in John Tory’s election promises. It reflects an existing tension in the McGuinty government’s position. As noted previously on this blog, the Conservative Party’s election platform proposes that Ontario join TILMA. As reported in today’s Globe and Mail, Tory has pledged to require that provincially-funded institutions buy their food and […]

Dion-omics: Corporate Tax Cuts and Deregulation

“Dion Would Wield Tax Axe to Spur Growth” was the headline in Tuesday’s Financial Post. The story reported that “Mr. Dion said his party would look to cut taxes across the board” but that “He would not elaborate on which taxes he would cut.” However, Monday’s Liberal press release seemed quite clear about which taxes […]

Giving the Financial Post its Due

There’s no question that the Financial Post, as the National Post’s business section, tilts heavily to the right. However, today’s letters section (FP15) could almost have been copied and pasted from this blog. In the first letter, Shalom Schachter responds to the whiny Labour Day op-ed from John Mortimer of LabourWatch. In the second letter, […]

Is Canada a country?

I always thought so, but apparently this is not the case, according to an oped in the Nationial Post by Sean McPhee, president of the Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada, and Carole Pressault, a VP with the Certified General Accountants. It is one thing for business interests to call for deregulation – that is to […]

The Minister Responds

Today’s National Post includes a letter from BC’s Minister of Economic Development, Colin Hansen, in response to my TILMA op-ed. It is great that the Post has facilitated some debate on this important issue and that the Government of BC feels compelled to participate in this debate. The fundamental point of disagreement is whether TILMA […]

The National Post on TILMA

On Friday, the National Post’s lead editorial suggested that inter-provincial trade barriers are significant enough to validate the Quebec-separatist view that “Canada is not a real country.” The following edited response from yours truly is printed as a “Counterpoint” in today’s edition. UPDATE (August 16): BC’s Minister of Economic Development has responded to my op-ed. […]

The Other National Newspapers on TILMA

Following the National Post’s complete endorsement of TILMA on Friday, The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star ran columns on Saturday that were relatively skeptical of this agreement. As both columns note, the joint statement released by the Premiers in Moncton leaves the door open to making the Agreement on Internal Trade more like TILMA […]

The Premiers’ Meeting and Internal Trade

Last week, while I was out of the country and away from this blog, the Government of Saskatchewan formally rejected TILMA. The news release announcing this decision quite reasonably unveils working groups to address the few inter-provincial problems that may exist, but strangely refrains from outlining any of the strong arguments against TILMA. However, media […]

Nova Scotia and TILMA

Public hearings proved to be an effective defence against TILMA in Saskatchewan. The following editorial from yesterday’s Halifax ChronicleHerald appropriately concludes, “Nova Scotia should hold public hearings, just like Saskatchewan, if it is toying with joining TILMA or a regional version thereof.” Published: 2007-07-16 Talking trade WHEN corporate Canada thinks of TILMA, it pictures a […]

Stopping TILMA on the East Coast

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies has been calling for the Atlantic provinces to join TILMA. Yesterday, I discussed this proposal with the Halifax ChronicleHerald’s editorial board. The following report was printed in today’s edition. Also yesterday, the CCPA posted a paper based on my submission to the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on the […]

Bruce Johnstone on TILMA

In today’s Leader-Post, Bruce Johnstone makes the same point as I did about the Saskatchewan Party’s reversal on TILMA: that it is intended to minimize the agreement as a potential election issue. He also makes the oft-heard argument that, since a couple of other “free trade” agreements allegedly worked-out fairly well, TILMA must also be pretty […]

Stopping TILMA at the Fourth Meridian

Count me among those pleasantly surprised by the right-wing Saskatchewan Party’s rejection of TILMA, a complete reversal of its previous position. I think that labour’s extensive participation in the legislative-committee hearings helped to convince the Saskatchewan Party that (1.) there is significant opposition to signing TILMA and (2.) there are genuine problems with the agreement. During […]

Lawsuits Galore

While the Saskatchewan government’s decision to take the federal government to court over Equalization has captured more headlines, the Saskatchewan government is also helping to finance legal action against the federal government’s handling of the Canadian Wheat Board: Sask. backs CWB lawsuit The Leader-Post (Regina) Thursday, June 14, 2007 Page: D1 / FRONT Section: Business & Agriculture […]

What Did the IMF Say?

Under the headline “IMF Admonishes Canada,” the Financial Post reported on Wednesday: The IMF added its voice yesterday to the growing chorus of observers urging Canada to undertake a 21st-century overhaul of its financial system, saying it should create a single securities regulator, open its banking system to foreign competition and mergers and tear down interprovincial […]

Randy Burton on TILMA

Hopefully, the radio interview that I just did with Saskatoon’s News Talk 650 will help to counteract Randy Burton’s column in today’s StarPhoenix. Burton claims: There is one overarching reason why we should be cautious about accepting the predictions of doom that await Saskatchewan if it joins a trade agreement with Alberta and B.C. The […]