Resolution on CETA

December 12th, 2011

Trade Agreement – European Union Resolution

WHEREAS the Canadian government is close to concluding negotiations with the European Union (EU) on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), with participation from provinces and territories; and

WHEREAS the Municipality of Guelph recognizes the importance of trade to local, provincial and national economies but also the impact that trade agreements can have on the powers of local governments; and

WHEREAS in the CETA, Canada has exchanged an initial procurement offer with the EU (listing sub-federal entities that will be bound by the rules of procurement chapter) that may include the Municipality of Guelph and that would explicitly ties the Municipality of Guelph to the terms and conditions of an international trade agreement; and

WHEREAS the EU is insisting on full access to procurement by municipalities, school boards, universities, hospitals, utilities and other provincial agencies, which could significantly reduce the freedom of these bodies to hire or source locally on public contracts, or to use public spending as a tool for economic development, environmental protection and support for local farmers and small businesses; and

WHEREAS procurement rules in the CETA combined with investment protections related to transit, water, electricity and other public services delivered locally may lock in privatization and make it prohibitively expensive to apply new regulations, to re-municipalize services, or create new municipal programs; and

WHEREAS the Municipality of Guelph already has an open and fair procurement policy, and that it is not the international norm for municipal governments to be covered by procurement agreements such as the one proposed in the CETA; and

WHEREAS disputes by private firms against local policy decisions could be taken before private trade tribunals that lack transparency and have the authority to impose fines;

THEREFORE be it resolved that Guelph Chapter Council of Canadians requests:

1. That the province exclude the Municipality of Guelph from the Canada-EU CETA, and that it otherwise protect the powers of municipalities, hospitals, school boards, utilities, universities and other sub-federal agencies to use public procurement, services and investment as tools to create local jobs, protect the environment, and support local development; and that

2. The province disclose its initial procurement, services and investment offers to the EU, explain the impacts CETA would have on municipal governance, and give M.U.S.H. sector entities the freedom to decide whether or not they will be bound by the procurement, investment and regulatory rules in the agreement; and that

3. This resolution be sent to the Provincial Municipal Association and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Ontario Hospital Association, the Ontario University Association and the Ontario School Board Association for consideration and circulation.

Signed by:

Norah Chaloner and Keith Bellairs,

Co-chairs for Guelph Chapter, Council of Canadians

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