Council Delegates Urged to Oppose Harper Free Trade Agenda

December 5, 2009, 9:36 AM EST

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CAW Council delegates voted unanimously in support of a recommendation by CAW President Ken Lewenza to oppose new free trade agreements being proposed by the Harper government, including a deal with the European Union (Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) that would restrict the ability of governments to adopt Canadian-content requirements in public purchases.

CAW Local 1075 President Paul Pugh said the issue at stake has to do with government skirting their responsibility for managing the economy.  CAW Local 1075 represents workers in the Bombardier Thunder Bay plant, a facility that has received substantial new investments in part because of Canadian-content rules included in Toronto streetcars and subway cars.

"Municipalities and provinces must have power to create jobs for Canadians," Pugh told the over 700 council delegates. "We can't allow the Harper government to take that away. There's it too much at stake to leave this to market forces"

Opposition to the Conservative government's free trade agenda also includes a proposed deal with South Korea as well as hotly contested deal with Colombia, a country that has a notorious track record on human rights abuses and is openly hostile to the rights and freedoms of trade unionists.

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