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NEWS RELEASE · 30th November 2011
Council of Canadians
Toronto councillors encouraged to take city out of Canada-EU trade deal: Council of Canadians

Toronto – The Council of Canadians supports a resolution before Toronto City Council this week asking the provincial government to exclude Toronto from the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in order to protect local spending powers, job-creation strategies and programs which are threatened under proposed procurement and other rules in the trade deal.

"Around the world municipal governments, and many countries, have resisted their inclusion in procurement agreements because they can see that deals like CETA are less about transparency and accountability in tendering and more about giving the upper hand to very large multinational firms," says Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, in a letter to all Toronto councillors today.

"The main result of CETA commitments on procurement will be to prohibit local governments from considering local development or local jobs needs when tendering for goods, services or construction projects. The EU’s challenge to the Ontario Green Energy Act at the World Trade Organizations shows how it will use trade and procurement agreements to undermine job creation strategies."

The Council is one of a growing number of Canadian and European civil society groups contesting the Canada-EU trade negotiations on the grounds they are taking place with minimal transparency, and that the agreement threatens Canada's food sovereignty, environmental policy, and public health care through increased drug costs. The grassroots social justice organization has also been encouraging municipalities to seek exclusion from any procurement commitments.

A growing number of municipalities across Canada have called for as much in resolutions like the one before Toronto council this week.

It is the official position of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities that cities, towns, universities, school boards and other entities should not have their spending powers curbed even further than they are.

The UBCM also passed a resolution this year demanding that water services be entirely carved out of any EU trade deal.

"As Canada’s largest city and a major economic engine for Ontario, the City of Toronto should have a say in whether or not its powers will be limited by trade agreements it has no role in negotiating," says Barlow in her letter.

The Toronto resolution was brought forward by councillors Glenn de Baeremaeker and Kristyn Wong-Tam.


For more information:

Dylan Penner, media officer, Council of Canadians, 613-795-8685, dpenner,,,
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