Canada EU Economic and Trade Agreement will Jeopardize Municipal Water Services and Local Procurement Policies
Canadian Trade Lawyer Steve Shrybman presented a number of worrying scenarios at a dialogue session hosted by the Centre For Civic Governance last Friday at the FCM. He pointed out that the "The European Union has made a pointed request that drinking water services be included in the trade agreement, opening the door for big multinational firms to “stake” a claim in municipal water systems."
This would open the doors for the privatization and foreign control over water. The agreement also threatens the ability of municipalities to buy locally, and companies could no longer be favoured in the bidding process by their investment in the local community.
So far, many municipalities seem to be unaware of the consequences of this binding agreement. Click here to read Shrybman's report.
Here is an excerpt from the Toronto Star.“Municipalities would no longer be able to restrict tendering to Canadian companies or stipulate that foreign companies bidding on public contracts accord some preference for local or Canadians goods, services or workers,” Shrybman writes.
“It would be reasonable to renew calls for the federal government to provide clear assurance that will not trade away the authority of local governments,” the report says.
Yet many municipal leaders remain in the dark about the potential fall-out to the trade deal, said Charley Beresford, executive director of the centre for civic governance.
“This trade agreement discussion seems to go in territory where no other trade agreement has gone in terms of water. It’s a bit of a worrying precedent here,” she said in an interview Friday.
“It gives huge multinationals a bit of a toehold in the area. We’re of the opinion that water is a resource best managed locally and remaining in local hands,” she said.
“I’m not sure that people understand that it’s on the table.”