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The federal government is trading away local economic development powers and putting municipal water services on the table, according to a new legal opinion analyzing a proposed Canada-European Union trade pact.

The Centre for Civic Governance report, written by international trade law expert Steven Shrybman, was released by at the recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ national conference in Toronto. The report analyzes a leaked text of the deal.

According to Shrybman, the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will prevent local governments from using their purchasing power to:

  • support community economic development through local purchasing
  • implement ‘Made in Canada’ content requirements
  • create local jobs
  • introduce environmental protection measures

Shrybman’s report also notes that the Europeans are demanding access to municipal drinking water and wastewater systems, potentially putting public water at risk.

At the conference, FCM delegates voted to call on Ottawa to provide objective information about CETA’s costs and benefits for municipalities, give municipalities a meaningful place at the table and allow municipalities time to seek public input on the trade deal.

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