The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a quintessential “new generation” trade pact. Its purpose is to open public contracts managed by government at the provincial and municipal levels to the free market. Large European corporations will be able to use their trade legal “favoured nation status” to have equal access to municipal and provincial contracts on things like city transit management. After many calls to make this deal public, on September 26, 2014, the European Union disclosed the massive finished document on their website. Critics are upset about the diminished capacity of city councils to control assets and local jobs, purchase locally, and create future policy for sustainability. There are many other questions over eighty municipal councils, associations and school boards have expressed about the CETA in resolutions to provincial and federal government. Over forty of them have asked to be exempted from the CETA.
These exemption requests from Victoria to Toronto make up the first trade critique of municipal government against federal in Canada since we started using free trade to shape policy in 1989. Maybe the over forty councils, school boards and associations do not want to be involved because they were not allowed to see the details. Or maybe because Canada is offering the EU a one-stop-shop website where foreign corporations will be able to see what contracts are open for bidding from coast to coast.
“With CETA, EU companies will be able to bid for public contracts in Canada…This includes the provincial authorities, (and) in 2011 procurements by Canadian municipalities were estimated at C$ 112 billion (approx. €82 billion)…European businesses will be the first foreign companies to get that level of access to Canadian public procurement markets. No other international agreement concluded by Canada offers similar opportunities…Canada will also create a single electronic procurement website that combines information on all tenders to ensure that the EU companies can effectively take advantage of these new opportunities.“ http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ceta/index_en.htm#outcome