City, CRD should retain independent power

The City of Nanaimo deserves congratulations for standing up for local jobs and democracy.

Editor:

The City of Nanaimo deserves congratulations for standing up for local jobs and democracy. By requesting to be exempted from the Canada-European Union, Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

There are no benefits to Canadian municipalities from CETA, being much like most trade agreements such as NAFTA that give away our rights to independent action on trade matters.

Most in fact allow us to be legally sued in court by global corporations, foreign countries and individuals, from taking actions in our own interest.

As written, the CETA procurement rules would forbid a city, town, school board or other body included in the deal from preferring one bidding firm over another, based on how much of the content in a certain project was local or Canadian.

It is my understanding CETA would also ban municipalities from considering local development benefits when choosing between different bidding firms, whether they were Canadian or European.

There is surely no sense for Canada or B.C. to take away important job-creating tools from its cities by including them.

Local purchasing of goods and services is one of the last places where our local government can play a role in fostering sustainable local development, and hiring local people.

It is my understanding that it is up to the Province of British Columbia to decide whether Nanaimo and other cities will be bound by these rules.

Already I read that 40 municipal councils, school boards or associations across the country, including large cities like Toronto, Hamilton, Mississauga and Victoria, have sought similar protections.

I would think that the Cariboo Regional District, and Williams Lake city council (certainly as a Republic), would want to retain all the independent power they can by also requesting to be exempted from this new give-away power, in order to govern in our local interest.

Bernie Littlejohn

Chimney Valley

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