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CUPE’s National Executive Board passed a resolution today in support of local purchasing by municipal and provincial governments.

The resolution is in direct response to the negative backlash from corporate Canada and the Harper government against “Buy America” provisions in the U.S. stimulus plan.

In fact, “Buy America” policies have been practiced by the U.S. since 1933. But opponents of the provisions are using America’s so-called “protectionist” policies as an opportunity to lock provinces and municipalities into free trade agreements.

A better option is to encourage municipalities to “buy Canadian”, and purchase goods and services with as much Canadian content as possible. “Buy Canadian” and local procurement policies will help create many jobs across Canada, particularly at the local level, where we need those jobs the most.

Resolution of CUPE’s National Executive Board



  1. Strongly oppose any proposals for a new trade agreement or other measures to limit the democratic right of provinces and municipalities to implement local purchasing policies; and
  2. Lobby federal, provincial and municipal governments in support of “Buy Canadian” and local procurement policies; and
  3. Work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in support of FCM policy which says municipalities must be consulted and have some say over new trade deals which affect them; and
  4. Campaign with the CLC, the CAW, the Council of Canadians and other allies in support of progressive local procurement and “Buy Canadian” policies; and
  5. Work with allies in the U.S. and Europe such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors, AFSCME and the European Trade Justice Movement to ensure the democratic rights of local and sub-national governments are maintained and enhanced.
  • Local purchasing policies of municipal and provincial governments are a powerful tool for creating jobs in local communities; and
  • Buy Canadian” policies at the local and provincial level help ensure the Canadian economy grows and diversifies; and
  • The Harper government and its corporate allies have been pressuring provinces and municipalities to give up their democratic right to use their purchases of goods and services to create local jobs, to support local businesses or to encourage ethical, fair trade suppliers; and
  • Even though the U.S. has had “Buy America” provisions in its federal laws since 1933, there has been a huge backlash from corporate Canada and the media in response to “Buy America” provisions in the Obama government’s stimulus Bill; and
  • As part of negotiations for a new Canada/European Union trade deal, European corporations and the E.U. have insisted on unfettered access to procurement within provincial jurisdiction; and
  • There is currently nothing in NAFTA or the WTO which limits the right of provinces and local governments to implement local procurement policies; and
  • Canada’s Premiers have recently said they support a new trade agreement between Canada and the U.S. to sharply limit the right of states, municipalities and provinces to use local purchasing policies to promote local community development.