WHEREAS the government of Canada and the European Union have been negotiating a trade agreement known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (the “CETA”); and
WHEREAS the European Union and European corporations are insisting on full access to procurement by sub-national governments – including municipalities, school boards, universities, hospitals and other provincial agencies – which could significantly reduce or eliminate the right to specify local priorities when public money is invested in goods, services or capital projects; and
WHEREAS Canadian municipalities have expressed growing concerns with trade agreements and their potential impacts on municipal programs and services and local autonomy; and
WHEREAS unfettered access to Canadian municipal by European corporations may encourage privatization and reduce economic development options for local communities; and
WHEREAS the provincial and territorial governments have been actively involved in negotiating CETA with the European Union;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request:
The federal government, provinces and territories are negotiating a “Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement” (CETA) with the European Union that will undermine democracy and sustainable economic policy in Canadian Municipalities. Not surprisingly, a growing number of cities, towns, counties and municipal districts are uneasy about and in some cases opposed to CETA.
Provincial municipal associations in other provinces have recently voted yes to a CETA resolution brought forward by their members. Those provincial associations agreed to request
The last point is critical if cities, towns, counties and municipal districts are going to preserve the space they need to set local economic and environmental policies without fear of expensive and time-consuming trade challenges from EU-based multinationals.
For more information about how CETA will affect municipalities, see the recent legal opinion by trade and public interest lawyer Steven Shrybman:
We need to encourage cities, towns, counties and municipal districts in Alberta, and across Canada, to follow the footsteps of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, and other sister provincial municipal associations, by requesting that municipalities be kept out of CETA. And request those sister provincial municipal associations to pass a similar resolution.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.
Staff from International and Intergovernmental Relations met with the President and other staff of the AAMDC on February 1, 2011 to provide a further briefing on the Canada-European Union (EU) negotiations and to respond to questions.
The CETA negotiations are comprehensive, and one of the primary interests of the EU has been securing procurement commitments by Canadian provinces, provincial entities, as well as municipalities. The obligations under consideration in the CETA are compatible with the obligations that already exist for municipalities under the pan-Canadian Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) and the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) between Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. These obligations support and encourage open, transparent and competitive procurement procedures, which have already been implemented by Alberta procuring entities for many years. However, the thresholds above which the obligations in the CETA will apply are expected to be higher than what is used in either the AIT or the NWPTA. Nothing in the CETA would require or promote privatization of public services, nor would it prevent governments from adopting non-discriminatory environmental regulations.
The AAMDC has not received written briefings on the CETA negotations, however meetings with key government officials have taken place. A member bulletin was issued on March 2, 2011 outlining the findings of these meetings to members. The inclusion of sub-national procurement is fundamental to the the CETA negotiations. While the FCM will not be providing a sector-by-sector analysis, the AAMDC will continue to follow the lead position of the FCM with regard to CETA. In 2012, International Trade Minister Ed Fast affirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to respect FCM’s seven fair trade principles as trade talks between Canada and the European Union proceed. These principles include reasonable procurement thresholds, streamlined administration, progressive enforcement, candian content for strategic industries or sensitive projects, dispute resolution, consultation and communication, and reciprocity. Further updates will be communicated to members as they are received.