Monday, August 06, 2007

Secret deal between Alta and BC guarantees profits for Companies.

August 2, 2007

Saskatchewan Says BC-Alberta Trade Deal is Flawed: Province Will Not Join TILMA
Vancouver - After months of debate, the Saskatchewan government decided yesterday that it would not join the Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) with BC and Alberta. Citing the agreement's broad scope and unanswered questions, the government assessed that signing on had too many risks for the province.

TILMA was signed by the premiers of Alberta and BC, without public consultation or legislative debate, in April 2006.

The agreement allows corporations and individuals to sue provincial governments for any provincial or municipal government measure they feel "restricts or impairs" their investment. Under TILMA, even measures designed to protect the environment and public health are vulnerable to attack from corporate lawsuits with compensation penalties as high as $5 million.

Saskatchewan's announcement comes as Colin Hansen, BC's Minister of Economic Development attempts to justify TILMA's far-ranging implications to municipalities. The Ministry is scrambling to 'consult' with municipalities, dozens of whom have raised serious questions about the agreement's impacts on local autonomy and will vote on excluding municipalities from the agreement in early fall at the Union of BC Municipalities AGM.

"Once elected officials get the chance to read through TILMA, they realize that it is more like a corporate bill of rights than an agreement to enhance trade and labour mobility," says Carleen Pickard, BC/Yukon Regional Organizer for the Council of Canadians.

"Unlike in British Columbia and Alberta, the government of Saskatchewan actually consulted academics, experts and citizens and concluded that TILMA is a bad deal. It is time for Minister Hansen to accept that, stop forcing it on BC's municipalities, and withdraw from the Agreement."

For more information, contact:
Carleen Pickard, 604.340.2455;
For more information about TILMA, visit Canadians.Org.
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