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 reports reflect the Minister’s success in making these arguments verbally to reporters. Some of these same articles continue to uncritically cite the Conference Board’s bogus numbers on TILMA’s supposed economic benefits.

Yesterday, the Premiers began meetings in Moncton on climate change, energy, and internal trade. While most of the coverage so far has emphasized environmental issues, some reports have picked up the protests against Atlantica.

Rodney MacDonald, the Premier of Nova Scotia, is proposing “a national policy to allow workers to move freely from one province to another, modelling a national system on the recent Trade Investment Labour Mobility Agreement struck between Alberta and British Columbia.” The Globe and Mail’s online edition also reported that provinces are “retaining protectionist policies that would not be allowed between Canada and the United States,” without naming any such policies.

Although the details of MacDonald’s proposal remain hazy, it reminds me of Maxime Bernier’s announcement on labour mobility a couple of months ago.  Nova Scotia’s newspaper of record is on the record that “Nova Scotia should hold public hearings, just like Saskatchewan, if it is toying with joining TILMA or a regional version thereof.” Will MacDonald heed this call?

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