Toronto Councillors Right to Raise Flags over CETA, CAW says

November 28, 2011, 9:10 AM EST

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CAW President Ken Lewenza applauded Toronto City Councillors Glenn de Baeremaeker and Kristyn Wong-Tam for introducing a motion on November 23 calling for a clear and permanent exemption of the City of Toronto from the proposed Canada-European Union free trade deal. The motion is scheduled to be introduced and debated in City Council chambers on Wednesday November 30. 

Leaked negotiating texts and various news reports indicate that negotiators are offering to bind major Canadian municipalities under the terms and conditions of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This move threatens to undercut the power of municipalities to create local jobs, protect the environment and provide services and programs that it sees fit.

"Binding municipalities to an international trade deal is unprecedented in Canada," Lewenza said. "European Union negotiators are aggressively looking to tap into municipal procurement and public service markets, areas that are vital to local development and community building. This should be sending shockwaves through every city and town council from coast to coast."

In addition to calling for a clear, permanent exemption, the motion calls on the province to explain the scope and content of the CETA negotiations with Europe, including the details of its procurement, service and investment offers. It also requests the City Manager assess the impacts that CETA will have on municipal governments. 

"It's ludicrous that local governments still haven't a clue how this trade deal will impact their day-to-day functioning but still our federal and provincial governments are moving quickly to get a deal done in the coming months. It's irresponsible."

Dozens of municipalities across Canada, including the Union of BC Municipalities (representing 150 municipalities) have passed resolutions opposing the CETA.

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