With the bulk of U.S. stimulus money already spent, the deal does very little to resolve the issue that started the dispute - specifically, that Canada could not profit from U.S. stimulus dollars. However, the new agreement will leave the 'Buy America' provisions basically intact, and only applies to the 37 states that have signed on to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Government Procurement Agreement (GPA).If the last part of this is in fact the case, the government has some explaining to do. How is privatization of water good for the country? Will it lead to bulk water exports? Will the lights come on and will an Enron rise up to gouge consumers for the privilege of having electricity? All of these questions should rightly be put to the Prime Minister in the House, but we all know the PM would rather give speeches in BC than answer questions in his own Parliament. Recommend this Post
Meanwhile, under WTO rules provinces and municipalities will lose an important policy tool in the form of local purchasing power.
"Buy local policies are good for the environment and for Canadian businesses, and they keep jobs and tax revenues in the community. Why the Harper government would enter Canada into such an uneven deal for Canada is baffling," said Moist.
The agreement may also open the floodgates to increased privatization of public services such as water and hydro. While provincial and municipal procurement was previously excluded from NAFTA, now U.S. investors will be able to launch Chapter 11 investor rights challenges if they feel provinces or municipalities are taking policy actions that harm their interests.
"This deal commits Canadian governments to forfeit valuable procurement sovereignty, while the U.S. offer is largely empty. This kind of risk is the last thing we need during an economic slowdown. Our government needs to look at improving its own record of research, development and innovation, instead of selling our provinces and municipalities short."
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Colour CUPE unimpressed: