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 beverages from Ontario producers. Such a policy would definitely violate TILMA, which explicitly bans preferential provincial procurement policies.

While the Liberal platform appears to be silent on TILMA, the last provincial budget committed to “exploring the merits of joining the Alberta-British Columbia Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).” This agreement would contradict the spirit, if not the letter, of the province’s Pick Ontario Freshness campaign.

UPDATE (Sept. 20): The following letter is printed in today’s Globe and Mail:

A choice of broken promises

John Tory (Tory Pledge: Schools, Hospitals To Buy Local – Life, Sept. 19) proposes to require that provincially funded institutions buy their food and beverages from Ontario producers. The Conservative election platform also proposes that Ontario join the Alberta-British Columbia Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA). 

Since this agreement prevents provinces from favouring local suppliers, one must ask which of these promises Mr. Tory intends to break.

Erin Weir, economist, Canadian Labour Congress, Ottawa

One comment

  • A similar contradiction emerged for the official opposition Saskatchewan Party who embraced TILMA sight unseen. The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour led a coordinated action plan which quickly educated the public and importantly, elements in the business community concerning the many failings and hidden elements of TILMA. The Saskatchewan NDP government wisely has not signed on.

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