Buy Canadian - Build Communities: Tell Your Elected Representatives

December 10, 2008, 1:29 PM EST

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Municipal councils across the country must be challenged to endorse the CAW's Buy Canadian - Build Communities resolution that ensures whenever there is a procurement opportunity tax dollars are used to put Canadians to work.

CAW Council delegates were reminded about a recent legal opinion which clearly shows Canadian governments can require Canadian made products and services to be purchased when procurement decisions are being made.

The CAW commissioned this legal opinion to dispel the right-wing myth that Buy Canadian procurement policies would be against the rules of international trade agreements such as NAFTA, WTO and others.

The municipal resolution commits municipal governments to purchase goods with the highest possible amount of Canadian content as well as purchasing public transit vehicles with a minimum of 50 per cent Canadian content, including final assembly in Canada. As well, it calls for an annual report to the council on the amount of Canadian content in purchases.

Bob Chernecki, assistant to CAW National President, spoke of the need for every local union to approach their municipal and regional councils to endorse the Buy Canadian resolution. "It can be done -let's get to work and make sure that these jobs stay in Canada."

Delegates also heard about the importance of ensuring that provincial governments and the federal government pass strong domestic procurement policies.

Paul Pugh, president of CAW Local 1075, spoke about a new collective agreement reached recently with Bombardier in Thunder Bay. "Thanks to that work brought in through the TTC campaign, this plant which had been scheduled for shut down, is now running at full capacity."  The union initiated a successful campaign in 2006 to ensure that that the $700 million TTC subway car purchase contract would go to Canadian producer, Bombardier.

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