TILMA Presentations

TILMA Presentations

Postby Oscar » Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:35 pm

TILMA – The Key to the North American Union
Presentation to the Standing Committee on the Economy
June 12, 2007 by Elaine Hughes, Archerwill, SK


First, let me say ”Thank You” to Premier Calvert and the NDP Government for giving the Saskatchewan people the opportunity to make presentations to this Committee on TILMA. The process itself supports the basic, fundamental idea of democracy – a scarce commodity in this country at the moment! I believe that TILMA is pivotal to saving our country and, if we want our country to stand, we must oppose Saskatchewan signing on to this ‘bad deal’, and we must do it now.

When I first heard about TILMA, it appeared to be just a piece of local ‘politics’ happening in BC and Alberta - Canada’s Constitution still does give provinces the ability to make regulations based on their local needs and should not be seen as trade barriers! However, the real implications behind this backroom deal have become alarmingly clear, especially since reading the leaked document entitled the North American Future 2025 Project…the ‘blueprint’ of Canada’s deep integration with the U.S. and Mexico.

Under the title North American Future 2025 Project, the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in collaboration with the Conference Board of Canada and Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), is currently holding a series of “closed-door roundtable sessions” with government “practitioners” and private sector “stakeholders” in order to “strengthen the capacity of Canadian, U.S., and Mexican administration officials and that of their respective legislatures to analyze, comprehend, and anticipate North American integration”

Despite a lack of public awareness or input, all three North American governments are moving quickly toward a continental resource pact, North American security perimeter, and common agricultural and other polices related to our health and environment. Many working groups comprised of bureaucrats and corporate leaders are quietly putting this “partnership” into action, and to date only industry “stakeholders” have been consulted.

Chapter 5 of "Budget 2007" states that the Harper government is "Committing to work with interested provinces/territories to examine how the Alberta-British Columbia Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement could be applied more broadly. This will help build our economic union and promote the free flow of people and goods within Canada...Artificial barriers to labour mobility can make it difficult for firms to find the skilled labour they need. Other impediments to internal trade can raise business costs and reduce competition. The federal government is committed to building on (the) momentum (of TILMA) and will work with interested provinces and territories to examine how the TILMA provisions could be applied more broadly to reduce interprovincial barriers to trade and labour mobility across the country."

As reported in a June 6, 2007 Canadian Press article on CBC.ca (as well as the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, the London Free Press and other newspapers), "The federal government is poised to tell the provinces that they must...mutually recognize a worker's occupational qualifications by default if they can't reconcile differences by April 1, 2009. It includes a binding dispute settlement mechanism and penalties of up to $5 million for non-compliance. And it dovetails with the labour mobility provisions in last year's free trade (TILMA) agreement between Alberta and British Columbia."

The article also notes, "The provinces will get a similar message from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the largest business group in the country, which is making a rare presentation to the ministerial meeting in support of free trade within Canada...The chamber will recommend that provinces negotiate deals similar to the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) signed by B.C. and Alberta in 2006."

In a Press Release on June 7, “the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry, proposed that the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) be strengthened to ensure that Canadians enjoy the benefits of full labour mobility by April 1, 2009. The Minister made this proposal to his provincial and territorial counterparts at today’s meeting of the Committee on Internal Trade held in St. John’s.”

Apparently, the proposed April 2009 deadline for “full labour mobility” is the deadline toward which provincial governments were already working with the regulated professions under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT). Previously, the federal government had been calling on more provinces to join TILMA. Now it proposes to turn the AIT, to which all provinces are already committed, into something closer to TILMA. The federal government seems to be using the most popular piece of the “economic union” agenda - labour mobility - as a Trojan Horse to get TILMA’s dispute-settlement mechanism into the AIT….the thin edge of the wedge. In this sense, today’s announcement should be viewed as an attempted end-run around the mounting opposition to TILMA. (Erin Weir)

In his 1993 book, “The Fight for Canada: Four centuries of resistance to American expansionism”, David Orchard addresses Canada’s ongoing need to maintain a satisfactory level of independence from the much larger economy in America while protecting its sovereignty and resources from exploitation, particularly since NAFTA. Little did he know that today, 14 years later, his message would be even more urgent.

BACKGROUND

Unknown to most people, many developments have already been put in place towards the ultimate goal of joining the three countries into one economic entity:

1) The Canadian government is intimately involved

“To adhere to the desired time line for this project,” the CSIS report will, “derive its assumptions from existing projection scenarios [and] relevant future-looking work dealing with each of the six topics upon which the three governments have agreed—namely, labor mobility, energy, the environment, competitiveness, and border infrastructure and logistics” (emphasis ours). These are exactly the same policy areas currently being integrated between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. through executive level, closed-door meetings of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), agreed to by the leaders of all three countries in March 2005.

The next meeting of the SPP will take place this August 21-22nd in Montebello, Quebec, not far from Ottawa, and by the time it does, many more Canadian will be aware of it. Demonstrations are also planned for the event! Part of the reason that news of the SPP/deep integration issue is finally seeing the light of day is that opposition is growing and groups fighting the SPP are having an impact. Connie Fogal, leader of the Canadian Action Party (CAP), has been tirelessly speaking out against the deep integration for many months. The NDP continues to press the government on SPP secrecy and the Green Party's Elizabeth May has said deep integration will be a focus of the party's election platform. There are now 13 states in the USA now calling on Congress to abandon the SPP: Georgia, Arizona, Missouri, Illinois, Oregon, Montana, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington and Virginia. Grass roots protest against the SPP is also growing in Mexico.

2) Oil

A Calgary meeting on April 26 preceded the water (and environment) meeting; this one talked about "North American" energy. The beneficiary of these discussions is pretty clear when you realize Canada has no national energy policy. We are the only energy exporting country in the world without a one.

Gordon Laxer told the Parliamentary committee: "The National Energy Board wrote me on April 12: 'Unfortunately, the NEB has not undertaken any studies on security of supply.'" He was also told by the NEB that Canada does not maintain a 90-day energy reserve as other developed nations do. As Laxer points out, "Canada may be a net exporter, but it still imports 40 per cent of its oil - 850,000 barrels per day - to meet 90 per cent of Atlantic Canada's and Quebec's needs, and 40 per cent of Ontario's." Canada exports 63 per cent of its oil production and 56 per cent of its natural gas, percentages that can never decrease under NAFTA.

Mr. Laxer is perfectly correct to be concerned about eastern Canadians “freezing in the dark”.

3) Bulk Water Exports

The deep integrationists clearly see Canadian water as a North American resource, not a Canadian resource, and certainly not as part of the Commons, belonging to everyone and not to be sold. At yet another very private meeting, held in Calgary on April 27, 2007 under the auspices of yet another forum, it was made clear that water is on the table for negotiation. Discussion of bulk "water transfers" and diversions took place at a Calgary meeting of the North American Future 2025 Project (partly funded by the U.S. government). The meeting based its deliberations on the false notion that Canada has 20 per cent of the world's fresh water. Actual available supply amounts to only around six per cent - similar to that of the U.S.

However, on June 4, 2007, MP Peter Julian, NDP Trade Critic told us that ". . . the Motion on preventing bulk water exports that was brought to the House of Commons as a result of the NDP hearings on deep integration at the Standing Committee on International Trade passed last night in Parliament by a vote of 134 to 108, with all Conservatives voting against and with a couple of dozen Liberal MPs either absent or abstaining. All New Democrats voted in favour of this motion."

It remains to be seen what, if anything, the Harper government will do on this.

4) NAFTA Super Corridor

Part of the opposition by grassroots Americans is focused on plans for a so-called NAFTA Super Corridor: actually a corridor several hundred metres wide including rail lines, freeways and pipelines, running from un-unionized ports in Mexico, driven by non-unionized truckers, fast-tracked through the Smart Inland Port at Kansas City with it’s tailor-made Mexican Custom Office, to the Canadian border and beyond in every direction.

Plans continue for Saskatchewan’s very own Smart Inland Port (part of CISCOR, the Canadian Intelligent Super Corridor - a ‘national intermodal land bridge’- for the entire continent). Strategically located with access to our main highways, it will serve as the ‘nucleus’ to CISCOR and will sort and dispatch containers loaded with finished goods from Asia, primarily China, into Canada’s markets. Then, send them back empty down the Super Corridor to Asia for another load. Or, re-load them with our raw materials (uranium, oil, potash) and dispatch them through the ports of Vancouver or Prince Rupert to Asian factories (where labour is plentiful and cheap, and environmental laws are weak or nonexistent). According to their website www.ciscorport.com , the first step in developing CISCOR is to “initiate legislative reform”- reform such as that provided by TILMA?

There is a similar, though more informal (some say ‘chaotic’) process evolving in the Atlantic provinces, called "Atlantica." And B.C. is now pushing the so-called Gateway Initiative, a kind of regional superhighway project that will see huge and environmentally disastrous expansion of ports, highways and pipelines to further supply the U.S.'s insatiable demand for resources and cheap Asian goods.

Thus, the ultimate goal is to establish a smooth, seamless flow of our resources out and foreign finished goods into the country. From Project 2025, “The changing global production system and the increasing demand for a mobile labor supply will inherently affect domestic and international labor markets and wages into the year 2025.” Obviously labour is much cheaper in emerging economies like China and India, and the loss of manufacturing jobs in both the US and Canada will be disastrous, wiping out much of the working middle class while corporate giants continue to accumulate wealth.

5) Other developments in the underground process for deep integration include the consideration to abandon the dollar and use a common currency called the Amero; the ‘harmonization’ of Canada’s regulations regarding the level of pesticides on imported food (which we feed to our kids) with those of the US which, in some cases, is 40% higher; the downgrading of health protection which had been a NAFTA initiative, but is being "fast-tracked" as part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (as well as some 300 regulatory regimes currently going through the same process); creation of Canada’s own "no-fly" list just like our U.S. "partner."; the 2003 CSIS report on “North American Economic Integration” which proposed that Canada and Mexico should work with the United States to take “concrete steps to create a North American security perimeter and further harmonization of immigration and refugee policies for those coming from non-NAFTA countries.”; the list goes on….

TILMA

For decades, the US Trade Representatives have complained about differences in our national and provincial regulations, finding them ‘irritating’. So, the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), with its mandate to ‘reconcile’ and ‘harmonize’ existing (and future) regulations and standards, was introduced in BC and Alberta to begin the process of removing ‘barriers’ to economic development... to ‘soften up’ the Canadian public to the final step of integration.

TILMA, which came into effect in BC and Alberta on April Fools Day, 2007, has been hailed as a major step towards the elimination of allegedly large internal trade barriers in Canada. It is indeed a major piece of deep integration, is deregulation imperative and fits hand-in-glove with the SPP. It replicates, at the interprovincial level, the trend in modern “free trade” agreements to go well beyond traditional notions of free trade, or restrictions at the border such bans, tariffs or quotas. Like NAFTA, TILMA is better thought of as an investor rights agreement, providing rights backed by legal recourse to arbital panels if corporate entities feel that these rights have been “restricted” or “impaired”.

TILMA, with its so-called solution to ‘trade barriers’ – barriers which are minimal or do not exist at all – and with its enforcement mechanism, is similar to NAFTA, giving governments, private businesses or individuals the power to claim damages of up to $5 million where it is alleged that an existing or future measure offends TILMA rules. The dispute panels that rule on such claims are not democratically elected – yet their decisions are binding!

TILMA has the potential to uphold commercial interests (a corporate ‘Bill of Rights’ so to speak) and, when pitted against democratic decision-making, calls into question the ability of all levels of local governments to govern for the good of the people they represent - including their procurement practices, bylaws, local hiring policies, and local economic development programs.

Finally, the recent report by Conference Board of Canada on the high cost to interprovincial trade barriers has been found to be seriously flawed, having doubled its estimates through a simple error in arithmetic; even the CD Howe Institute described it as ‘widely exaggerated’. And, according to Economist Erin Weir of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Saskatchewan Government "should demand a refund" from the Conference Board of Canada!

So, Saskatchewan now finds itself caught between the business community and ardent free-traders, such as the Canada West Foundation, in one corner, and unions and leftwing nationalists, such as the Council of Canadians, in the other. As a result of this pressure from corporate-friendly supporters of this undemocratic scheme, Saskatchewan must decide whether to join TILMA, and risk "[selling] democracy to multinational corporations" or, according to (unrealistic) predictions made by the Conference Board of Canada, of possibly missing out on a Western economic mini-miracle in the making.

Since being revealed to the public, concerns have arisen about TILMA’s implications from trade unions, activist groups and municipal councils, and other provinces are also wary of signing on - in spite of corporate pressures to do so. Several Canadian cities (Saskatoon, Regina, Yellowknife) and organizations (SUMA) have already voiced their concerns and opposition to TILMA, and this will continue as more people find out what’s going on. The Council of Canadians, the CLC and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives held an SPP teach-in in Ottawa last month, and many civil society groups are now taking deep integration to their members.

TILMA was negotiated and signed in secret in 2006 (without public consultation and without legislation) by the premiers of BC and Alberta. Hopefully, the tide stops at the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, then recedes with repeal of the TILMA by a future BC or Alberta government so that Canadians can get on with the real and pressing economic and social issues facing the nation.

Many men and women have given their lives to keep our country ‘glorious and free’. When I stand to sing our national anthem and say these words, I need to know that they are TRUE!

If we want to save Canada, Premier Calvert, as the head of the Government of Saskatchewan, must say “NO” to TILMA!

Thank you.



Sources:

1) Council of Canadians:
http://www.canadians.org/

2) Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/

3) North American Future 2025 Project:
http://www.canadians.org/water/document ... e_2025.pdf

4) A Deeper Look at Continental Integration under the SPP:
http://www.greenparty.ca/en/policy/docu ... r_look_spp

5) Threat to our Water: NAFTA, the SPP and Super-Corridors
http://www.americas.org/item_31581

6) The Plan to Disappear Canada - 'Deep integration' comes out of the shadows by Murray Dobbin - June 8, 2007 - TheTyee.ca
http://thetyee.ca/Views/2007/06/08/DeepIntegrate/


--------------------------------
NOTES:

Agenda for Public Consultations June 4 - 8, 2007 in Regina and June 11 - 14 in Saskatoon are available at: http://www.legassembly.sk.ca/committees ... lendar.htm

AUDIO of presentations: http://www.legassembly.sk.ca/committees/Main%20and%20Common%20Pages/MinVerbatims.htm#ECO
Last edited by Oscar on Thu Jun 21, 2007 8:38 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Presentaitons: Sask Federation of Labour

Postby Oscar » Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:41 pm

Saskatchewan Federation of Labour - Central Brief:
http://www.sfl.sk.ca/pdfs/SFL%20Present ... conomy.pdf


Saskatchewan Federation of Labour - Trade Committee Brief:
http://www.sfl.sk.ca/pdfs/Trade%20Cttee ... 202007.pdf
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NFU TILMA Presentation

Postby Oscar » Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:19 pm

NFU Presentation to the Standing Committee on the Economy, June 2007


http://www.nfu.ca/on/briefs/Submission% ... mmitty.pdf
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Postby Oscar » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:08 pm

Presentation to Standing Committee on the Economy – TILMA
Thursday June 14, 9:00 AM by Cathy Holtslander, Community Organizer,
Beyond Factory Farming Coalition, Saskatoon.

You can listen by going to
http://www.legassembly.sk.ca/committees ... ms.htm#ECO

My session is Audio #1 on June 14.

Good Morning. I’d like to thank the Committee for creating the opportunity for a public discussion on TILMA.

I will begin with some broad observations and concerns about TILMA from my perspective as a citizen. I will then discuss some specific implications of the Agreement for the sustainable agriculture, and particularly the livestock sector, in Saskatchewan.

In terms of the big picture, I would like to highlight ways TILMA
- reduces public accountability
- may be ultra vires under the Constitution
- stifles innovation
- dovetails with the smart regulation agenda
- gives investors rights without responsibilities

In terms of sustainable agriculture and livestock, I will touch on TILMA’s implications for
- provincial meat inspection regulations
- supply management
- local procurement of food
- municipal jurisdiction over community planning
agricultural support and development programs.

And I will conclude by suggesting that instead of signing on to TILMA, Saskatchewan provide leadership in creating a genuinely sustainable framework – one that recognizes that the three pillars of sustainability – economic viability, social justice and ecological health – work together and ALL are required for a healthy community.

BIG PICTURE

TILMA reduces public accountability

Many people hear the word “regulation” and think “red tape” without understanding how regulations are made and what their purpose is. Regulations are a mechanism for making laws have a practical effect in real life. The law provides the framework, intent and structure of an initiative, and provides the authority for the government to create regulations to put the law into action. The law is analogous to the body of the car, and the regulations are like the wheels.

Regulations are developed by the department responsible for the legislation. The regulation is then approved and passed into law by the Cabinet. At that point, regulations have the force of law. The civil service is given the responsibility to see that the regulations are followed.

Municipalities create bylaws and regulations based on bylaws through a similar process.

There is a direct line of democratic accountability for regulations. The government is elected by voters, the legislature passes laws, the Cabinet passes regulations and the civil service implements them. Regulations can be repealed or changed by Cabinet, and laws can be changed or repealed by the Legislature. Governments can be changed by the voters.

Regulations are an essential and integral tool of government that provides a framework in which to fund programs, to create fairness in the marketplace, to protect public health, to set quality standards for products and services, and so on.

So at the most essential level, TILMA is about governance, not trade.

Article 5, that sets out Standards and Regulations under TILMA, requires governments, and thus citizens, in one jurisdiction to comply with decisions made in another jurisdiction. The line of accountability between the electorate and the law-makers is broken. Furthermore, under Part IV, regulations that an investor believes impinge on its ability to trade or profit can be challenged, and heavily penalized, even if the people who elected the government that passed the law support the measure in question. Not only does TILMA move an essential step in law-making from one province to another, but it takes it out of the political realm and into the realm of commerce. In Canada, our legislatures are tasked with providing “peace, order and good government” for Canadian citizens, whereas investors are tasked with pursuing economic gain on behalf of owners. This conflict is at the heart of TILMA.

If the Saskatchewan government signs on to TILMA it would abdicate the power to regulate on a wide and increasing range of matters, and to give that power to investors by setting up a mechanism that would allow investors to sue democratically elected governments for up to $5 million per disputed measure if their regulations inhibited the company’s capacity for profit in one jurisdiction compared to another. The $5 million penalty – or even the threat of it – places governments in an inferior position to corporations. Under TILMA governments could only regulate at the pleasure of unelected and unaccountable investors. TILMA represents a shift in government from one person one vote, to one dollar one vote.

Generations of people throughout history have struggled, fought and died to build representative democratic self-government. One thousand years ago, English men fought the king and obtained the supremacy of Parliament – the king had to obey the law. Men fought for the right to vote even if they did not own property during the 19th century. Women fought for the vote and obtained it in Canada less than 100 years ago. World War II was fought to protect democracy. Currently Canadian soldiers are risking their lives in Afghanistan, ostensibly to bring about democracy in that country. Yet, some here in Saskatchewan would like to sign on to this agreement and take away the freedom of our elected governments to govern according to the needs and desires expressed by the voters.

TILMA is likely ulta vires under the Constitution

When I studied political science many years ago, our class in Canadian politics seemed to be about one subject – federal-provincial jurisdiction. The Canadian political system is a federal system – the source of much conflict but also much creativity. The Constitution Act spells out the exclusive authorities of Parliament in Section 91, and the exclusive authorities of the Provincial legislatures in Sections 92, 92A, 93 and 95. I am not a constitutional lawyer, but the first question that came to mind when I heard about TILMA was how could the agreement be constitutional? TILMA attempts to usurp federal jurisdiction over inter-provincial trade, and it interferes with each Province’s constitutional authority to regulate in the areas of agriculture, health, welfare, education, and natural resources by making important aspects of this authority subject to the dispute settlement mechanism.

TILMA stifles innovation

Canada is a mosaic, not only of many ethnic cultures but of different political and social cultures that have been able to emerge and develop their unique characteristics through the mechanism of self-government. The ability to regulate and set up programs for the benefit of residents is an important part of this historical process. Saskatchewan has shown that smaller jurisdictions can provide leadership IF they have power to regulate.

There are municipalities pioneering new community-based solutions to climate change problems. These efforts require regulation – for example building codes that ensure solar access, car-free/bicycle and pedestrian friendly housing developments, local food purchasing policies, etc. This kind of innovation would be stifled by TILMA as property developers, car manufacturers, food brokers, etc. could argue the regulations impinged on their ability to make profits.

TILMA’s standardization of regulations across provinces, right down to the level of municipalities stifles public policy innovation – as well as the potential civil society response to such innovation -- as the new and different would potentially be punished if it was seen to inhibit even one large company’s profitability. New regulatory initiatives could only be put into action if all signatory provinces agreed to all the provisions – unlikely to occur in provinces with such historical, cultural, geographic and economic differences as exist among BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Diversity is an important value, worth protecting.

TILMA dovetails with the Smart Regulation agenda

TILMA is part of a larger agenda for regulatory harmonization for all of North America. In September 2004 the Chrétien government’s Smart Regulation Advisory Committee report called on Canada to abandon our own regulations in favour of US regulations in order to promote trade with the US. In their recommendations, the only specifically Canadian regulations justifiable were those required for constitutional or cultural reasons. We’ve seen this agenda move forward with the recent announcement that Canada is adopting US pesticide residue standards for food.

The Smart Regulation agenda also promotes using guidelines, targets, performance indicators and the like, as does TILMA in Article 5.2. This form of regulation is difficult to enforce, and is more accurately described as a form of deregulation.

Combining Smart Regulations, which would have Canadian regulations conform in style and substance with US regulations, with TILMA, which would have all provinces and their municipalities conform with each other, we end up with a uniform regulatory framework that is Made in Washington -- from immigration and international trade right down to building codes and zoning bylaws.

TILMA gives investors rights without responsibility

Media discussion of TILMA has focused on the labour mobility aspect of the agreement, though others have demonstrated that there are few real impediments to labour mobility in Canada. However, there has been virtually no public discussion of the Investment mobility aspect of the agreement.

I would like to question the whether investment mobility is such a good thing. Much of this investment is simply foot-loose capital looking for the best deal at the public expense. We’ve seen corporations playing off one jurisdiction against the other for tax breaks, public subsidies and regulatory changes. The investments often do not create new wealth, but just consolidate, concentrate and transfer wealth from existing small and local businesses to large, multinational corporations. For example Home Depot has “invested” by building a big box store in Saskatoon. Meanwhile several small hardware stores close down. Managers and staff with a lifetime of experience and knowledge are replaced with a temporary part-time workforce of just-in-time salespeople, and anyone who would like to go into the hardware business is discouraged, knowing they will not be able to compete.

TILMA’s Article 4, Non-discrimination means that a Province would have to treat all investors alike, regardless of their residency. The Province with the largest treasury would not have to align its programs with the other TILMA partners; it would only have to ensure that it treats investors from other provinces equally with its own. So TILMA does not balance out the differences between Alberta’s oil wealth, and other provinces. The likely impact of TILMA on investors is that they will go where the best deal is, and TILMA will make it easier for them to get there. If Saskatchewan signs on to TILMA we may be put in a position of having to use public money to match any programs Alberta might set up just to keep home-grown businesses from leaving.

There is a very pervasive idea about competition in our society. We all think we will be winners, but competition creates losers too. The big fish in a small pond becomes a small fish in a big pond when borders are erased. Small fish get eaten up.

The dispute resolution mechanism is something that on paper may be available to anyone; however it is only the large corporations that will have the resources to mount a challenge against a government. Similarly, it is more likely that large corporation would seek to do business in more than one province at a time.

TILMA gives investors greater freedom and scope to invest and seek profit, and it permits these same investors to use their economic power to lever even greater concessions from the citizenry by challenging their regulations, costing governments/public purse money to defend itself and finally by extracting a fine in punishment of the government’s action.

In our society we have a deeply held value that rights and responsibility go hand in hand. TILMA goes against this value, as it provides the right of investors to discipline governments through the dispute resolution mechanism, yet it does not impose any corresponding responsibilities on them.

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND LIVESTOCK

TILMA would undermine local procurement policies for food

Article 14 of TILMA restricts the level of local preference for goods to $10,000. Anything above that amount would require open tendering; however the $5 million dollar penalty for non-compliance does not apply -- at least not yet.

Currently in Saskatchewan we import all but 10% of the food we eat. Ironically, as the most agricultural province of all, we export most of what we produce. Fruit and vegetable production has dwindled. Saskatchewan Ag and Food has been tasked with setting up an emergency plan in the event of a pandemic – how will we feed ourselves if the just-in-time supply lines from California, Mexico and elsewhere go down?

We currently lack infrastructure for local food processing and storage, making it impractical for farmers to grow fruits and vegetables. One way to support infrastructure development is to provide a reliable market. This is something the Province can do by implementing local food procurement policies for government entities – including hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, schools, recreation centres, etc.

Such a local food procurement policy would exceed $10,000 and thus violate Articles 3 and 4 of TILMA. Article 1 of TILMA also states that in the event of inconsistency between TILMA and the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), the provision that is most conducive to trade, investment and labour mobility will be incorporated into TILMA. The AIT guiding principles regarding procurement call for: “Eliminating local price preferences, biased technical specifications, unfair registration requirements and other discriminatory practices for non-resident suppliers in order to ensure equal access to procurement for all interested Canadian suppliers.”

TILMA would require harmonizing provincial meat inspection regulations

Currently each province has its own provincial meat inspection regulations. If meat meets provincial standards it can be sold within the province. Provincial inspection has evolved along with farming in each province. Provincial inspection is a good fit with smaller scale abattoirs that process local and regional farmers’ animals for local and regional distribution. They are located near the farms and the markets so that neither the animals nor the meat has to travel a long distance.

If meat is to be sold across provincial boundaries it must meet federal inspection standards set by the CFIA for inter-provincial and international trade. This is due to inter-provincial trade being a federal responsibility. Federal standards have been developed for high speed, high through-put meat packing plants that process huge quantities at a central location and ship far and wide, such as the Lakeside Packers beef plant in Brooks Alberta. Federal inspection measures must be capable of protecting Canadians and our foreign customers from the hazards inherent in the high speed production process and from the consequences if food-borne illness occurs in massive batches of meat distributed over a huge geographic and population base.

In 2005 BC made major changes to its meat inspection regulation. Formerly there had been no provincial inspection, but individual abattoirs were inspected by local public health officials. Since many BC communities were geographically isolated this system worked well. The new inspection regulation now requires all abattoirs, no matter how small or remote, to meet federal inspection standards. This involves major capital expenditure and hefty inspection fees. The CFIA is contracted to conduct the inspections, and it may refuse to inspect a facility if it deems it too low volume. The result is that many abattoirs serving smaller communities are going out of business. The farmers are faced with going out of livestock production or shipping their animals long distances for slaughter. Where local abattoirs have closed residents now must get their meat shipped in from Alberta (beef) or the lower mainland (poultry), farmers lose a source of income, and the local economy shrinks.

If Saskatchewan signs on to TILMA we will have to harmonize our meat inspection regulations with Alberta and BC. Will Tyson demand all three provinces adopt the BC regulation, since it least restricts investment in meat processing, and allows the company the most access to markets? If the BC meat inspection system is adopted in Saskatchewan it may well result in the remaining small abattoirs in rural communities closing, further stressing livestock farmers and undermining local economies.

We have seen the damage and strife caused by the implementation of the BC meat inspection regulations, and the harm it has done to the development of local sustainable food systems there. We would not like to see such a regulation imposed on Saskatchewan farmers and small-scale meat processors.

TILMA may eventually require harmonizing supply management

TILMA currently exempts egg, poultry and dairy marketing board regulations under Part V. However Article 8.3 indicates a Party (province) may remove any of its measures listed in Part V without consent of other Parties. Article 17 requires the annual review of exemptions under Part V with a view to reducing their scope. If both BC and Alberta removed these measures from Part V of TILMA, Saskatchewan’s egg, poultry and/or dairy sectors might be opened to a NAFTA challenge from US agribusiness investors if they sought “most favoured nation” status under the combined provisions of NAFTA and TILMA. The AIT’s principles regarding Agricultural and Food Products call for “Examining supply management systems for dairy, poultry and eggs; removing technical barriers between provinces, such as differing product and grade standards, and plant and animal health regulations.” Given Article 1.2 of TILMA, would the marketing board regulations exemption in TILMA or the AIT inclusion, prevail? The likely impact of a Canada-wide supply management system (instead of province by province) would be a concentration of dairy, egg and poultry production in densely populated Ontario, Quebec and BC.

TILMA impinges upon municipal jurisdiction over community planning

Saskatchewan recently passed a new Community Planning Act, which requires all municipalities to create a community plan. Saskatchewan municipalities may deem intensive livestock operations a discretionary use, and set out the parameters for making a decision on such a use. However in Alberta, the Natural Resources Control Board has jurisdiction over ILO permitting, and it has essentially usurped municipal planning authority concerning siting and conditions required for ILO development. If Saskatchewan signed on to TILMA our Rural Municipalities’ zoning bylaws could be challenged if an ILO investor felt that Alberta’s regulations were more favourable.

TILMA would affect Saskatchewan’s agricultural support and development programs

TILMA includes financial assistance and support to the agriculture and agri-food sectors under Part VI – Transitional Measures. That means Alberta and BC intend to bring these areas under TILMA rules in the future.

An investor could argue that Saskatchewan’s programs provide an unfair competitive advantage to farmers based in Saskatchewan. We would have to eliminate the program, or offer the same benefits to farmers and agri-business investors from the other provinces.

Examples of some agriculture programs that could be affected:

- Bison Feeder Associations Loan Guarantee Regulations (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 13
- Canada Saskatchewan BSE Recovery Program Regulations, 2003 (No. 2) (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 25
- Cattle Breeder Associations Loan Guarantee Regulations, 1991 (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 5
- Cattle Feeder Associations Loan Guarantee Regulations, 1989 (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 1
- Cattle Marketing Deductions Regulations, 1998 (CMD Act, 1998) C-3.1 Reg 1
- Conservation Cover Program Regulations (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 19
- Enhanced Cattle Feeder Association Loan Guarantee Regulations (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 22
- Farm Land Education Tax Rebate Regulations (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 17
- Farm Land Lease-back Regulations (SFS Act) S-17.1 Reg 2
- Feedlot Construction Loan Guarantee Program Regulations (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 27
- Forage Seed Development Plan Regulations (Agri-Food Act) A-15.21 Reg 3
- Individual Cattle Feeder Loan Guarantee Regulations (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 26
- Livestock Drought Loan Program Regulations (ACS Act) A-8.1 Reg 4
- Meat Processing Investment Rebate Program Regulations (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 29
- Pork Industry Development Plan Regulations (Agri-Food Act) A-15.2 Reg 7
- Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute Regulations, 1999 (PAMI Act) P-21.1 Reg 1
- Provincial Lands Purchase Refund Regulations (Dep’t Ag and Food Act) SR170/78
- Saskatchewan Alfalfa Seed Producers Development Plan Regulations (Agri-Food Act) A-15.2 Reg 6
- Saskatchewan Canola Development Plan Regulations (Agri-Food Act) A-15.2 Reg 2
Sheep Breeder Associations Loan Guarantee Regulations (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 10
- Sheep Development Plan Regulations, 1996 (Agri-Food Act) A-15.2 Reg 3
- Sheep Feeder Associations Loan Guarantee Regulations (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 11
- Short-term Hog Loan Regulations (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 12
- Short-term Hog Loan Regulations, 2002 (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 23
- Unseeded Acreage Benefit Program Regulations (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 15
- Unseeded Acreage Payment Regulations (FFS Act) F-8.001 Reg 30
- Winter Cereals Development Plan Regulations (Agri-Food Act) A-15.21 Reg 7

If not TILMA, what?

The overarching policy question that TILMA poses is “does the economy serve the people, or do the people serve the economy?” TILMA is designed to deliver customers, markets and resources to investors without consideration of social, moral, cultural values that constitute a society. Instead of joining TILMA Saskatchewan should develop an alternative proposal as the basis for an agreement among provinces to promote genuine sustainability, where economic activities are embedded in, and support healthy social relationships in harmony with the world of nature.

Let’s come up with an agreement to promote community development – rather than mere growth -- as the top priority. A Genuine Sustainability Agreement would ensure that our public wealth – clean water, healthy soil, fresh air, healthy, secure, educated people, diverse eco-systems, etc -- is fostered. Enterprises would have to be accountable to the people affected by them, including workers, neighbours, or the broader public. Democratic governments at the local and provincial level regulating in the public interest, using the precautionary principle would be a step in the right direction. The way of the future is a diversity of people in communities working together to build the three interdependent pillars of sustainability: social justice, economic viability and ecological health.

Thank you.
Oscar
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