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BURNABY – It’s the most radical trade deal since the ill-fated Multilateral Agreement on Investments—and that’s why British Columbians need a public hearing on the soon-to-be-enacted Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) between B.C. and Alberta, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

“This deal is extremely powerful—it binds not only the province but all municipalities and school boards to its broad-sweeping provisions,” said CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill.

“That’s why there need to be public hearings on the TILMA before it comes into force.”

According to the Community Charter of British Columbia, municipalities are “an order of government” that have the “authority to determine the public interest of their communities.” However, the TILMA—like Bill 30, a law passed by the BC Liberal government that removed the public’s right to vote on proposed private power installations in their own communities—undermines that authority, says the union.

“With its trade panels and restrictions, it contains the most radical provisions of NAFTA and the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (the MAI),” said O’Neill, adding that public protests stopped the MAI from being implemented.

O’Neill noted that consultation on the TILMA has thus far consisted only of chats with the business community to sell the deal.

“Despite what Gordon Campbell may think, there are other people in this province,” said O’Neill.

“Once the general public know what’s in store for their communities as a result of this deal—that it will lead to a race to the bottom for professional and trades qualifications, as well as stripping municipalities of their decision-making ability—they’re not going to like it.”

The TILMA comes into effect on April 1.

For further information, please contact:

Barry O’Neill
CUPE BC president
(604) 340-6768

Dan Gawthrop
CUPE Communications
(604) 999-6132